What is Dehydration?
What is Dehydration? This is a state the body enters when it doesn’t have enough fluids to function optimally. Every day our bodies use about two litres of water, just through breathing, sweating, passing urine and bowel movements.
Hot weather, physical exertion, illnesses like gastro, vomiting and diarrhoea and the self-inflicted pain of hangovers cause even more fluid loss, which all contribute to us being dehydrated.
This fluid loss also increases during physical activity, we can lose up to two litres of water an hour during strenuous exercise – and remember, it’s not just fluid we’re losing. We also lose valuable electrolytes that our bodies need to function optimally.
We start to become dehydrated when more fluids are lost than are consumed. By definition, when the body is in a dehydrated state it means the amount of body water is below optimal. Common risks include the following:
• Inadequate fluid replacement
• Induced high sweat rates (as in saunas or during exercise)
• Diuretics (and substances with a diuretic effect)
• Febrile illness
Prevention Through Awareness
Ultimately the best prevention measure is to keep hydrated and avoid any level of dehydration altogether, but this can be not as simple as just having this in mind sometimes.
In most cases with minimal fluid loss, ie low activity of day to day, water can be sufficient. But with increased activity comes increased fluid loss and you may need something that is going to absorb into your system a lot quicker and also replace valuable electrolytes.
The best way to approach this situation is to assume there is a constant output of fluids and monitor the early warning signs. The most obvious sign is thirst but this can mean you are already up to 2% dehydrated and for an athlete this may be too late as it has already started to impact performance. The best avoidance technique for athletes is a constant monitor of urine output for volume and colour, both low output and dark coloured urine are signs of the start of a dehydrated state and will in most cases proceed that first obvious sign of thirst.
Use SOS Rehydrate for Superior Hydration
It is not just athletes that may have an increase in fluid loss and increased risk of entering a dehydrated state, any normal person in the right conditions such as hot or humid weather can have an elevated rate of fluid loss. Regardless of the cause and/or if you are an athlete or not, we can be certain that dehydration will result in negative performance outcomes and a reduction in mental function.
Some symptoms of dehydration are increased thirst, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps and confusion. For more detailed information on symptoms and the effects on physical performance please visit our Dehydration Symptoms page.
SOS Rehydrate can help with small-to-medium levels of dehydration but for severe symptoms, please do see a doctor.
Sources – Advanced Sports Nutrition – Dan Benardot