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Sweat pads aid athletes' performance

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Media captionResearchers at Strathclyde University develop a wearable device that can tell athletes when they should take on more fluid as they train

Researchers at Strathclyde University have created a tiny wearable sensor to test athletes' sweat.

It delivers real-time information to a smartphone to help sportsmen and women achieve optimum performance.

The tiny sensor analyses the electrolytes in sweat and transmits the data to a smartphone.

Researchers in the university's biomedical engineering department said it could let competitors and coaches know when and how best to rehydrate.

It could also have applications in the care of older people, by monitoring whether they are getting enough to drink.

Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and helps transport nutrients for energy and health.

Inadequate hydration causes the body to under-perform and can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms.

Healthy lifestyle

Heart monitors, pace calculators and GPS-enabled watches are already widely used to support a healthy lifestyle and in elite sporting disciplines.

The university believe that hydration monitoring could be the next addition to the market.

Dr Stephen Milne said he was keen to explore the commercialisation of the product.

He told BBC Scotland: "You only become thirsty when you have lost about 2% or 3% of your body weight in water.

"It has been found that when a reduction of about 1% occurs you have a drop off in performance. This can actually detect that and tell you to hydrate before you feel thirsty.

"It is good for team sports or longer distance running or cycling where a team can monitor the hydration as they are going and build up a profile of the athlete and tailor the hydration for optimum performance."

Dr Milne said the device could also aid recovery after exercise as it takes longer if the athlete is not hydrated properly.

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