I’m sure you have heard over and over how important it is to keep yourself hydrated, especially in the summer. But can you tell whether or not you are hydrated?
Thirst is not always a good indicator of hydration. Early symptoms of dehydration include headaches, dizziness, cold clammy skin, rapid heartbeat, nausea, drowsiness, loss of concentration, irritability, heavy sweating and muscle cramps. Heat exhaustion and even heat stroke can occur as well. If you have any of these symptoms on a hot summer day, get out of the heat, drink water and rest. Another indicator of hydration status is your urine color. I know, it can be embarrassing to talk about urine, but this is important! When I ran cross-country in high school, our coach always told us that we needed to have light-yellow or near-clear urine in order to race. If your urine is dark-yellow or amber, you are not adequately hydrated. If you are going to exercise on a hot day, plan ahead and drink plenty of water ahead of time – and make sure your urine is light-yellow before you start your workout!
Another way people commonly become dehydrated in the summer is from drinking alcohol. Oftentimes grill-outs, pool parties, boating, camping, etc. involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Keep in mind that these beverages are actually dehydrating your body. Remember the every-other rule: after each alcoholic beverage you consume, drink a glass of water. This also helps reduce the intake of empty calories when you are consuming alcoholic beverages.
Keep in mind that your body is 70% water and needs adequate hydration in order to function properly. You wouldn’t run a car without oil; in the same way you shouldn’t let your body get dehydrated!