Even if you aren’t much of a sweating adventurer, you’d be surprised how much fluid you lose when you exercise or when you’re just out in the heat. Even if you are aware of this, everyone’s fluid’s requirements are different. Having a mindful approach to your hydration could save you a trip to the hospital! So, how can you tell if you are getting dehydrated? Read on to learn more.
Thirst and a Dry, Sticky Mouth
Simply the feeling of being thirsty means you are dehydrated. Of course, the easiest way to combat this is to start drinking water or other beverages with electrolytes immediately. The best practice is to stay ahead of your hydration requirements. According to the National Academy of Sciences, women should have about three liters of water each day, and men should have closer to four. You should go far beyond this requirement if you have spent extra time in the sun or exercising!
Confusion, Fatigue, or Anger
While you might think that you are annoyed by external factors, your body could actually be causing your mood to change because of your hydration levels. This is common in the young or elderly especially, as they become less focused or alert when they are dehydrated. In fact, even mild dehydration can affect your mood, your energy levels, and your ability to think straight. “Mild dehydration” is defined as being about a 1.5 percent loss in normal water volume in the body. Unfortunately, you will feel this mood shift regardless of where you are or what you are doing, whether that be sitting still or exercising.
Blurred Vision and Dry Eyes
Exercising for a long period of time results in quite a bit of sweat, which can lead to dry eyes or even blurred vision. Make sure you continue ingesting fluids as you exercise, regardless of whether you are biking or hiking, running or dancing.
Disorientation and Headaches
Dehydration can lead to a headache or even a migraine. Marathon runners who are not properly hydrated will actually begin running in zigzags because they are so dehydrated. Many people feel weak, dizzy, or nauseated because the body doesn’t have the fluid it needs to hydrate all part of the body. Eventually, this can lead to heat exhaustion and cause you to collapse. However, these symptoms can also be a sign of overhydration, so be sure not to drink too much either.
It’s important to note that just because you hydrate properly, that doesn’t mean you will be safe from all issues when working out. Spending extended amounts of time outdoors and in the heat can still leave you susceptible to heat stroke, regardless of how much you hydrate. Pay close attention to your body, and stop what you are doing if you experience any of these symptoms.
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