Water makes up 60% to 65% of our total body weight. When we exercise, we lose water through sweat – this water needs to be replaced. Even a 2% loss of body weight through sweat (i.e. 3 lbs of loss for a 150 lb person) can put you at a disadvantage. If this fluid loss is not replaced properly, dehydration will occur. This is a serious condition that can diminish energy and impair performance, among other symptoms. However, it can be easily spotted and prevented. Here are a few ways to prevent dehydration and keep up with your water intake.
Signs of Dehydration
Thirst is one indicator of dehydration, but it is not an early warning sign. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include:
- Feeling dizzy and lightheaded
- Having a dry or sticky mouth
- Producing less urine and darker urine
How to Prevent It
Preventing dehydration starts long before the activity. The easiest way to avoid dehydration is to drink lots of fluids, especially on hot, dry, windy days.
How To: the night before, as well as before your workout, you should intake the following fluids:
- 16 ounces of water before bed
- 16 ounces of water in the morning
- 4-8 ounces every 15 minutes
Be sure to also replace your fluid loss post exercise: 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost!
Water is usually the best choice, but you can also get fluids from water-based juices and smoothies!
Always dress appropriately for your activity. Wear loose-fitting clothes and a hat if you can, this will keep you cooler and cut down sweating.
Fitness tip: if you can’t remember how much water you drank today, you haven’t had enough!