As summer heats up, it is important to be mindful of the value of proper hydration. While staying hydrated is important for everyone, people who exercise frequently tend to lose fluids at a quicker rate, putting them at increased risk of dehydration. Let’s review the importance of proper hydration and how to achieve it with ease.
With any physical exertion, the risk of dehydration increases, and the outcomes can be uncomfortable and unsafe. Dehydration can pose just as much, if not more, of a threat to your physical well-being than a minor joint or muscle injury. Some of the physical effects of dehydration include headaches, nausea, muscle pains, and dizziness. Untreated, these symptoms can progress into heat exhaustion, which means significant harm to your body.
The effects of dehydration surpass posing an inconvenient distraction and can limit your body’s ability to perform. Inside the studio, this means restricted flexibility and reduced strength, but outside of the studio, this means limiting your ability to complete normal tasks at work, school, or home. The strain placed on muscles performing at dehydrated levels is an unnecessary burden for your body to bear.
In addition to messing with your physical capabilities, dehydration puts an unwarranted amount of stress on you mentally. On top of becoming an active distraction, dehydration can blur your cognitive abilities and take away from the mental sharpness you need to complete your goals throughout the day.
Fortunately, you have the power to fight off dehydration by managing your intake of fluids. Below are few things to remember when trying to stay properly hydrated.
Prepare in Advance
A common misconception is that dehydration can be quickly reversed by drinking water as soon as you notice the side effects. However, a better strategy is to think about steps you can take in advance that have long lasting effects on your hydration. If you expect to be engaged in a strenuous activity that requires physical exertion, be sure to drink plenty of fluids well before the activity begins. This means taking extra preparations to hydrate yourself the night before an event and 2-3 hours before beginning physical activity. Also, help your recovery by drinking fluids after you have completed any physically demanding activity.
Quality Over Quantity
Be smart about how you fuel your body. Yogis should steer away from sugary, processed drinks or those high in dairy, such as soda, beer, and dessert shakes. Opt for more natural drinks, such as water, light juices, or sports drinks that are infused with electrolytes.
Diversify Your Intake
Fruits that are high in water can also help keep you hydrated. Watermelon, grapes, celery, and cucumbers can be wonderful additions to your meal that also contribute to your hydration. Remember not to rely on one source of nourishment alone—fruit should be an addition to your repertoire, not a replacement for your beverage.
If you are unsure of your hydration, check your urine—the closer to clear, the more hydrated you are.
Stay hydrated and enjoy your summer!