Many people can lose up to 2L of fluid during one hour of workout. When you don’t take enough fluids, the muscles get tired quickly, making you tired. This is why it’s very important to take lots of fluid. However, proper hydration is usually a challenge for many people, including athletes.
This article looks at the meaning of dehydration, what causes it, signs of overhydration, how dehydration affects performance, and how to prevent dehydration. Keep on reading to learn more.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration is an excessive loss of water from the body. It can occur among sports enthusiasts who participate in endurance sports. One can only be considered dehydrated when they have lost more than 2% of their body weight. People who experience severe dehydration should visit an emergency room in Bulverde. It is always advisable to take adequate fluids before, during, and after rigorous physical activity. But what causes dehydration?
Causes of dehydration
When exercising, people often sweat. Sweating is the body’s way of maintaining low body temperature.
During a workout, people tend to release more moisture in their breath due to a higher respiration rate. Failing to replace these lost fluids can lead to dehydration.
Training in warm environments can also make one dehydrated.
Other causes of dehydration include vomiting and diarrhea.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration occurs when an individual loses more fluid than they take in, and their body doesn’t have adequate fluids to perform its normal functions.
Here are some of the common signs of severe dehydration.
- Dry/sticky mouth
- Dark, concentrated urine
- Lack of tears
- Weakness or shakiness
- Little or no urine output
- Decreased body temperature
How can sports cause dehydration?
Generally, when one engages in a sport or vigorous activity, they lose a significant percentage of body weight through sweating. When their sweat loss exceeds their fluid intake, they become dehydrated. Dehydration of up to 2% of body weight can compromise physiological function and negatively affect performance. That’s why athletes need to drink fluids before, during, and after sports activity.
How does dehydration affect performance?
To maintain the same performance level, the fluids lost when sweating, and breathing must be replaced. Even a two percent decrease in body weight through water loss can decrease performance level by 20%.
As an athlete, when your body weight is at 2%, you will start to experience increased fatigue, reduced endurance, and declining motivation. The good news, however, is that rehydrating can reverse all these problems.
The longer you exercise, the more dehydrated you will be, thus affecting your performance. Studies show that endurance athletes such as marathoners and triathletes’ performance can drop by up to 60% when they are dehydrated. Furthermore, dehydration of more than 3 percent of body mass can cause the athlete to develop heat cramps or heat exhaustion.
A number of factors influence the athlete’s hydration level. These factors include:
- The sport’s intensity or energy because some sports will increase the amount of perspiration, resulting in greater fluid loss.
- Rest breaks: if they are more, the athletes will get an opportunity to consume smaller volumes of fluids.
- Fluid access
- The environment of play: hot areas will increase fluid loss, leading to dehydration.
- Age: the age of the athlete can also contribute to dehydration. Children are more prone to dehydration, and heat illness in a hot environment compare to adult athletes.
How to prevent dehydration
The only way to prevent dehydration is by drinking adequate fluids throughout your workout or competition. You should never wait until you feel thirsty before you can drink water. This is because when exercising, the feeling of thirst is usually masked.
With workout and sports, there are many specialist sports drinks available that are more effective at maintaining hydration and improving performance than just plain water alone. The reason for these claims, maybe because of the loss of electrolytes in sweat.
These electrolytes are essential for a number of physiological functions in the body, including muscle contraction. The electrolytes in sports drinks are believed to replace those lost in sweat, as well as help eliminate the risk of developing hyponatremia [this happens when salts in the body are abnormally diluted].
Other ways to prevent dehydration include:
- Taking water with you when exercising
- Avoiding alcoholic drinks
- Not taking salt tablets
- Not exercising or training when you become dizzy or you feel tired.