Do Water Polo Players Sweat? The Truth About Water Polo and Sweat

Do Water Polo Players Sweat

If you’ve ever watched a water polo game, you might be wondering if players sweat during the match. After all, they’re submerged in water for the majority of the time, so it’s easy to assume that they wouldn’t sweat. However, the truth is that water polo players do sweat, and quite a bit.

Despite being in the water, water polo players still exert a significant amount of energy during a match. They’re constantly treading water, swimming, and engaging in physical contact with other players. All of this activity causes their bodies to heat up, and as a result, they sweat.

In fact, according to a study published in PubMed, elite male water polo players have an average sweat rate of 138 ml per kilometre during training sessions.

So, if you’re considering taking up water polo as a sport, it’s important to keep in mind that you will sweat during matches. Proper hydration is essential to help your body regulate its temperature and maintain peak performance.

The Science of Sweating

How Sweating Works

When you exercise, your body generates heat, causing your core temperature to rise. To prevent your body from overheating, your body produces sweat, which evaporates and cools your skin. Sweat glands, found throughout the body, produce sweat.

The two main categories of sweat glands are eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands are the primary type and aid in regulating body temperature by primarily producing water and salt.

Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are located in areas with hair follicles, like the armpits and groin.

They produce a thicker, milky sweat that is high in protein and fatty acids, which can lead to body odour. Sweating is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, which means that it happens automatically and you can’t control it. However, certain factors can increase or decrease the amount of sweat you produce.

Factors That Affect Sweating

There are several factors that can affect how much you sweat, including:

  • Temperature and humidity: High temperatures and humidity levels can cause your body to produce more sweat to cool you down.
  • Exercise: Physical activity causes your body to generate more heat, leading to increased sweating.
  • Age: As you age, your sweat glands become less active, which can make it more difficult for your body to regulate temperature.
  • Gender: Men tend to sweat more than women because they have more sweat glands and their glands are more active.
  • Body size: Individuals with larger body size tend to produce more sweat than those with smaller body size due to having a larger skin surface area.
  • Medications: Some medications can cause you to sweat more, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medications.

Water polo players are no exception to the science of sweating. On average, male swimmers have a sweat rate of 138 ml/km during training sessions, while female swimmers have a sweat rate of 107 ml/km.

However, there exists a considerable difference in fluid consumption and perspiration loss among individuals, regardless of whether they are water polo players or swimmers.

Sweat is a crucial part of regulating body temperature and preventing overheating during exercise, which is why it’s important to stay hydrated and replace fluids lost through sweating.

Water Polo and Sweating

Intensity of Water Polo

Water polo is a high-intensity sport that requires a lot of physical exertion. During a game, players swim back and forth in a pool, tread water, and engage in physical contact with other players.

All of these activities can cause the body to produce sweat, which is the body’s way of regulating its internal temperature.

Water Temperature and Sweat Response

The temperature of the water can affect how much a water polo player sweats. If the water is cold, the body may produce less sweat to conserve heat.

However, if the water is warm, the body may produce more sweat to cool down. In general, the body’s sweat response to water temperature is less pronounced than its response to air temperature.

Hydration and Sweat Loss

Staying hydrated is important for water polo players, as they can lose a significant amount of fluid through sweat during a game. According to a study published in PubMed, male swimmers had an average sweat rate of 138 ml/km during training sessions, while female swimmers had an average sweat rate of 107 ml/km.

Water polo players may have similar sweat rates, but individual variation is wide. To maintain proper hydration levels, water polo players should drink fluids before, during, and after a game.

To ensure adequate hydration during physical activity, the American Council on Exercise suggests drinking 17-20 ounces of water two hours before commencing the exercise and consuming 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes during the workout.

It is also important to replace electrolytes lost through sweat, which can be accomplished by drinking sports drinks or eating salty snacks.

In conclusion, water polo players do sweat during games and training sessions. The intensity of the sport, water temperature, and hydration levels all play a role in how much a player sweats. By staying properly hydrated and replenishing electrolytes, water polo players can perform at their best and avoid dehydration.

Sweating in Different Sports

When it comes to sports, sweating is a natural occurrence that happens when the body needs to cool down. However, the amount of sweat produced can vary depending on the sport, the athlete’s level of exertion, and other factors such as clothing and environmental conditions.

Comparison with Other Aquatic Sports

Water polo is not the only aquatic sport where sweating is a concern. Swimmers, divers, and synchronized swimmers are also prone to sweating, although the amount of sweat produced may be lower due to the cooler water temperature.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, male and female swimmers had an average sweat rate of 138 ml/km and 107 ml/km, respectively, during training sessions.

Despite the lower sweat rates, swimmers and other aquatic athletes still need to stay hydrated during training and competition.

The same study found that female swimmers had an average fluid intake rate of 95 ml/km, while male swimmers had an average of 155 ml/km.

Comparison with Land-Based Sports

Compared to land-based sports, water polo players may produce less sweat due to the water’s cooling effect. However, this does not mean that they are not at risk of dehydration. In fact, water polo players may be more prone to dehydration due to the nature of the sport.

Water polo is a physically demanding sport that requires a lot of energy and endurance. Players often have to swim long distances, tread water, and make quick movements while passing and shooting the ball. All of these activities can lead to a higher level of exertion and a greater need for hydration.

According to a review of sweating rate and sweat sodium concentration in athletes published in Sports Medicine, athletes who engage in high-intensity exercise are more likely to produce a higher volume of sweat and lose more sodium and other electrolytes. This can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, and other health issues if not properly addressed.


Water polo players do sweat during games and training sessions. The amount of sweat loss varies based on individual factors such as body size, gender, and position played.

It is important for water polo players to stay hydrated during games and training sessions to prevent dehydration and its negative effects on performance.

Nutritional recommendations for water polo players include consuming adequate amounts of fluids before, during, and after exercise to maintain hydration levels.

Positional differences exist in body composition, with centre players typically being heavier and having higher body fat levels compared with perimeter players, according to the same PubMed study.

Preventing injuries is also important for water polo players. A survey conducted by San Jose Express found that 98.4% of respondents reported having had shoulder pain at one point in their water polo playing and training life.

Traumatic injuries in water polo often affect the hands and head from unexpected contact with the ball or opponents, while training injuries tend to affect the shoulder area.

Overall, staying hydrated and preventing injuries are important factors for water polo players to consider. By following proper nutritional recommendations and taking steps to prevent injuries, water polo players can perform at their best and stay healthy.