Hydration is a topic that we all are aware of and know we need to take heed, but due to busy days and sometimes just lack of interest in thinking about it, or thinking it’s “not that big of a deal,” we let our hydration get away from us.
Unfortunately, it is that big of a deal. Especially for those of us who train year around outdoors. Training outdoors in the Valley of the Sun is absolutely possible and enjoyable year round even in the warm, okay HOT, dog days of summer.
You have to play it smart and keep vigilant about the hydration process. And it is a process in not just going thru the motions of slugging a few gulps of water right before or during your training or workout.
The Effects of Dehydration
Typically, our bodies are warmer then the environment, but when that begins to change are muscles regulate by releasing sweat which allows the body to cool itself. When we sweat, we lose fluid and electrolytes/trace minerals.
If you become dehydrated, problems will begin. Your body won’t be able to cool itself and will actually start “storing heat.” The core temperature will rise and put your internal organs and central nervous system at risk. Heat exhaustion and worse yet, heat stroke are potential hazards should you allow yourself to become at risk by not taking the necessary precautions in outdoor exercise and during the warmer months.
The Signs of Overheating or Dehydration
They can include nausea, dizziness, chills, elevated heart rate that isn’t dropping (another reason we need to wear our HRM’s), goosebumps, cramping, blurred vision, headaches, thirst, weakness, general fatigue, aches and pains. Even extreme muscle soreness post workout can be a direct result of dehydration.
What You Can Do to Keep Hydrated
- Drink 12 ounces of water first thing in the morning – before your coffee.
- Drink water throughout the day all day, never leaving home without a water bottle. Carry one at all times…in your car, to the grocery store, wherever!
- Get a large container and measure out a specific amount of water to consume through the day. This will help you keep tabs on your intake during your busy day.
- Drink water with your meals.
- Be mindful about consuming too many diuretics like caffeine and alcohol. Drink water with your libations. And just bag the sodas. These can accelerate the effects of dehydration.
- Ingest water and electrolytes during your workouts, along with a post-exercise recovery hydration drink. (Think FLUID!)
- If you feel you are already feeling the onset of dehydration it’s smart to ingest an electrolyte drink along with some water, especially if you are planning on working out or training in the heat that day or the following day.
- Weigh yourself pre- and post-workout. If you are 2 lbs less after you workout, let’s say, you have lost 5 cups of water. 2½ cups water per pound of body weight lost. Once that much fluid is lost it’s very difficult to make it up if you are not constantly keeping up with the hydration process.
And there you have it. Be smart, drink up and have fun training this summer!