The Heat is On! Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Posted: June 2, 2016  

I can’t say it enough. Summer is fast approaching and as it’s heating up outside, you want to make sure you’re staying well hydrated.  A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that more than half of children and adults are not drinking enough water.  People don’t fully understand how much fluid they lose being outside for an extended period of time or working out outside.  Are you dehydrated?  According to Dr. Laura Goldberg of Cleveland Clinic Sports Heath, be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  1. Extremely thirsty and/or dry mouth.  If you FEEL thirsty, then you’re dehydrated.  A way to avoid this is to meet your daily hydration needs.  For women, the National Academy of Sciences recommends 2.7 liters of water and 3.7 for men.  But try to drink more water if you’re spending long periods of time outdoors or exercising. 
  2. Fatigue, confusion or anger.  A study from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Lab found that even mild dehydration can change a person’s mood, energy or their cognitive thinking.  It’s been most commonly found in young children and/or the elderly.  Mild dehydration can happen whether you’re exercising or just sitting still.
  3. Dry eyes or blurry vision.  When you’re sweating a lot, your overall body fluid goes down.  So any part of your body that normally feels moist is going to feel dry when you’re dehydrated.
  4. Headaches or feeling disoriented.  You can also experience dizziness or even nausea because the body doesn’t have enough fluid to send to other parts of the body.  This is very common in runners especially in long distance.  The result being heat exhaustion.  You could collapse if you don’t stop and cool down and most importantly, re-hydrate!
  5. Muscle cramps.  It’s natural for your legs to feel tired if you’re exercising but when you start experiencing muscle cramps, this is a serious sign of dehydration.  The result being a loss of water and salt.  To prevent this, drink sports drinks with electrolytes such as Gatorade.
  6. Lack of sweat.  If you’re not sweating enough, this could be a sign of overheating or heat stroke.  Excessive sweating or lack of, either way it’s important to cool down.
  7. Dark urine.  Light yellow urine means you’re properly hydrated.  If your urine is dark in color, it’s a sure sign of dehydration.  But you should also note that if urine is clear colored, you’re over-hydrated.
  8. Fever.  Dehydration can lead to chills or hyperthermia because it alters your body’s normal temperature.  Stop what you’re doing immediately and hydrate.  Take an ice bath if you have to.
  9. Dry skin.  If your skin is hydrated, it will appear fuller in volume.  If it’s dehydrated, it will lack elasticity and won’t bounce back.  For example, it you pinch your skin and it doesn’t go back quickly, you’re dehydrated.

Some important things to remember during the hot summer months.  If you’re staying outside for long periods of time or exercising outdoors, the more water you need.  But also listen to your body.  If you notice any of the above signs, stop what you’re doing immediately and HYDRATE.