Physical Activity and Dehydration

As the summer temperatures increase, it becomes harder to stay cool while being physically active.  Exercise and warmer temperatures can increase the temperature of our bodies and increases our heart rate.  Sweating is the way our bodies cool themselves and if we do not actively drink fluids, we can become dehydrated quickly.  Drinking, especially water, can cool our bodies from the inside out.  Water is always the first choice to stay well hydrated.  Below is a list of simple things to prevent dehydration during physical activity in the warmer temperatures. 

  • Hydrate before, during and after working out.
  • Drink water throughout your workout, even if you do not feel thirsty.  Avoid chugging large amounts of water just before or after exercise or being physically active.
  • Plan frequent breaks in the shade during activity and do not plan vigorous physical activity during the hottest part of the day, 10 am to 2 pm.
  • Pack supplies if planning physical activity or a long day in the sun to ensure you stay hydrated.
  • Exercising more than 60 minutes or if sweating heavily, a sports drink would be recommended to replace essential electrolytes.
  • If a pound of weight is lost during physical activity or exercise it can be replaced with 3 cups of water.

 Even if you are well prepared dehydration can sometimes still occur.  Signs of mild dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Flushed skin
  • Premature fatigue
  • Increased body temperature
  • Faster breathing and pulse rate

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