Staying Hydrated

by Neil Anderson

Fighting a little fatigue this week?  You may be somewhat dehydrated.  Physiologists will tell that before you ever notice the typical signs and symptoms of dehydration your performance may drop more than 40% of normal. 

F-0-R-T-Y

A 2% drop in normal blood volume due to dehydration can be responsible for your cramping, fatigue, sleepiness, grumpiness, dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, lack of coordination and even fainting.  This small percentage of change will make performing workouts - ROUGH.  It will also affect the outcome of the workout since dehydration makes it harder to recover. 

Dehydration isn't all about getting enough water.  There are 3 types of dehydration.  Hypotonic or hyponatremic is primarily a loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, calcium, etc.).  Hypertonic or hypernatremic is primarily a loss of water volume.  Isotonic or isonatremic is an equal loss of both.  

Becoming re-hydrated once dehydration has set in can be quite a process. Your body absorbs water slowly through a process called osmosis. It takes time.  We are talking days here.  

To become re-hydrated and begin functioning at the highest levels again start drinking a lot of water immediately.  The general 8-10 cups per day is a silly guideline.  Don't follow it.  Instead, use urine color.  Drink enough water to make it pale, then keep it that way.  Now all you have to worry about is electrolyte balance.  Proper nutritional habits work best to ensure proper levels.  Fruits and vegetables , even canned or frozen are high in electrolytes, as is bread and milk. Gatorade works in a pinch (not big on all the sugar though). Tap water or spring water does not contain electrolytes.

This is one of those subjects where an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.  Stay hydrated all of the time and experience maximum benefit from your workouts.