Can baking soda improve your tennis game? It sounds far-fetched, but new research suggests that taking baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, could help you play better tennis. Is baking soda a sport performance booster?
Will Taking Baking Soda Improve Your Tennis Game?
In a recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers gave nine tennis players a drink that contained sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or a placebo before they played a simulated tennis match. Before and after their match, researchers measured their accuracy at hitting forehand and backhand ground strokes as well as their consistency.
How did they perform? The players who drank the baking soda drink had the same consistency and accuracy after the match as before, whereas the group who sipped the placebo drink had a decline in their performance and accuracy. The researchers concluded that taking baking soda before a tennis match could offset declines in performance that come from fatigue.
Can Taking Baking Soda Reduce Sports-Related Fatigue?
Another study that looked at the effects of taking baking soda on muscle fatigue reached a similar conclusion. Baking soda reduces sports-related fatigue. It may not only improve your tennis game, it also helps with muscle recovery. In another study, six cyclists experienced less cycling-related fatigue and had a more rapid recovery from exercise after drinking a solution containing bicarbonate.
How does taking baking soda help you play better tennis and reduce fatigue? It favorably alters the acid-base balance in the blood by lowering lactic acid levels, which contribute to fatigue.
Should You Take Baking Soda to Improve Your Tennis Game?
There is some real science behind taking baking soda to improve sports performance, and some athletes use it for this purpose. It’s so effective for boosting performance in some sports that some officials would like to see it banned from athletic competitions.
On the other hand, taking too much baking soda causes abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sodium bicarbonate also contains sodium, and too much sodium can raise blood pressure and aggravate heart disease. Anyone with a history of these problems should stay away from it. Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, can also lower potassium levels, which can cause irregular heart rhythms, muscle cramping, muscle weakness, and confusion.
Taking Baking Soda to Play Better Tennis: The Bottom Line?
Taking baking soda before a tennis match may improve your tennis game, but it can also lower potassium levels and cause unpleasant intestinal side-effects. All in all, it may not be worth the risk. Try drinking chocolate milk instead. It also helps to refuel fatigued muscles – safely.
Medical News Today. “Bicarbonate Adds Fizz To Players’ Tennis Performance”
Journal of Applied Physiology. Vol. 83, No. 2, pp. 333-337, August 1997.