Dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, headache…those sound like nasty side effects from a medication, but they’re actually the result of dehydration!
How Much Water Do I Need To Drink?
Whether you’re exercising, working in the yard, or chillin’ on the beach, it's important to drink to thirst! The term “drink to thirst” means you shouldn’t drink just for the sake of drinking. You need to drink an amount of fluid that replaces what you're losing in your sweat. One caveat, if you're running or racing, you may not actually feel “thirst," but don’t make the mistake of not drinking at all. If you need a drinking schedule during exercise, shoot for 4-8 ounces (about 4-8 gulps of water) every 15-20 minutes.
What Happens When You Skimp on Water While Exercising?
Dehydration leads to a big drop in exercise performance — a decrease in mental concentration, coordination and endurance capacity. As if that’s not enough, you’re prone to muscle cramps, digestive problems, and ultimately an inability to cool the body.
Electrolytes In Water
If you're prone to muscle cramps while exercising or being out in the heat for a long period of time, you'll definitely want to add electrolytes to your water. I love this BodyBio electrolytes concentrate! You dilute his concentrate in water — ½ an ounce of concentrate to 8 oz. of water, or 8 ounces of concentrate into 1 gallon of water.
A lack of salt is primarily the cause of muscle cramps, and adding salt to your fluid may also enhance palatability so you drink more. The salt will promote fluid retention so you don’t lose as much fluid through sweating, and possibly prevent hyponatremia (low sodium blood levels).
Signs You’re Well-Hydrated
- Your urine is clear to pale yellow. If your urine is the color of apple juice, drink more water.
- You urinate at least 4 times per day. Start drinking cool water early in the day and at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Your urine volume matches your typical urine volume. Just a trickle indicates the need for more fluid.
- Tip: a mouthful of water from your Kanteen or Camelbak equals about 1 ounce. To get one cup of liquid, take 8 big swallows.
Being outside during the summer months can be an exhilarating experience, but if you’re not prepared for the heat, it can end disastrously…so grab your Kanteen (I love these ones) and have fun!
Sports Nutrition Supplements and Protein
Here are my “Top 6” supplements for a quick and effective recovery from your workout, and here are a 11 reasons to include protein in your sports nutrition diet.
Enjoy Your Summer!
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods