With summer upon us, this is a gentle reminder that athletes can get dehydrated quickly. With this in mind, lets review the importance of drinking enough water to keep you healthy......
Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise.
Water performs a number of essential functions to keep your body in balance and hydrated, and these include regulating temperature of your body, transporting nutrients to cells and removing waste products. When you are performing physical activities that cause you to sweat, your body will lose a substantial amount of water, resulting in thirst and possibly dehydration.
What are the signs of dehydration?
Dehydration happens when you lose more fluid than you drink. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t work properly. Dehydration can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of dehydration can include the following:
Symptoms of severe dehydration can include mental confusion, weakness, and loss of consciousness. You should get emergency medical attention immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
What is heat illness?
Heat illness can occur when the body is dehydrated and can’t cool itself effectively during exercise in hot or humid weather. There are 3 stages of heat illness:
Symptoms of heat cramps include painful muscle spasms in the legs, stomach, arms, or back. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are more serious. They can include faint or weak feelings, nausea, headache, fast heartbeat, and low blood pressure.
The most serious heat-related illness is heatstroke. Symptoms can include high body temperature (higher than 104°F), fast heartbeat, flushed skin, fast breathing, and possibly even delirium, loss of consciousness, or seizures. You should get emergency medical attention immediately if you experience any of the symptoms of heatstroke. Untreated heatstroke can lead to death.
Number one lesson to be learned from this....? Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink, or until your parent or coach reminds you - make drinking enough water throughout the day a habit!