When trying to get healthy, people focus on getting more exercise and eating the right foods. One key ingredient they often forget, however, is to watch their water intake. Staying hydrated is incredibly important for any person, but especially for the person who is trying to live a healthy lifestyle. When you work out, you sweat and, thus, you lose moisture from the body. This makes it even more important for you to be drinking enough water because, if you don’t watch it, you could get dehydrated. Dehydration is a serious health issue as it impairs your muscles’ ability to function effectively. It also keeps you from eliminating dangerous toxins and metabolic waste from the body. This, in turn, lowers your endurance, leading to shorter, often more painful workouts. Plus, it will keep you tired and de-energized, making you less likely to hit the gym or pop in that workout DVD.
How to Tell if You’re Dehydrated
Chances are, if you’re not getting at least eight glasses of water—and we’re talking pure water not carbonated beverages or juice—per day, you’re dehydrated. In fact, if you’re thirsty right now, your body is already in an advanced stage of dehydration, believe it or not! Other signs of dehydration to be on the lookout for include dry mouth, feeling excessively tired, unquenchable thirst, not urinating as often, dry skin, headaches, constipation, and dizzy spells. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an effort to up your water intake significantly, and you should be just fine.
However, some symptoms indicate serious dehydration and may require medical attention to get you back in proper health. See a professional if you are experiencing excessive thirst coupled with irritability or mental confusion, dryness of the mouth and skin, an inability to produce mucous, not sweating upon exertion, dark yellow urine, sunken eyes, reduced skin elasticity, low blood pressure, increased heart rate even when at rest, or unexplained fever.
Make Sure You Get Your Magnesium
Having a magnesium deficiency in the diet can also cause dehydration. Signs to be mindful of include loss of appetite, unexplained nausea, throwing up, excessive tiredness, and feeling weaker than usual. In its more advanced stages, you may even experience numbness or tingling in various parts of the body, muscle spasms or cramps, seizures, irritability, irrational behavior, and changes in the heartbeat.
If signs in the latter group are experienced, you will want to see a doctor. The best way to avoid the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is to prevent it by watching your food intake. Make sure you’re enjoying healthy foods with lots of magnesium in them. Good examples include wheat bran, almonds, spinach, cashews, soybeans, wheat germ, nuts, oatmeal, peanuts or peanut butter, potatoes, black eye peas, pinto beans, rice, lentils, baked beans, kidney beans, milk, bananas, yogurt, dark chocolate, whole-wheat bread, and avocado.
Tips for Getting Enough Water
As we mentioned earlier, you should be drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, preferably more, and remember, we’re talking about eight ounce glasses. Carry water with you wherever you go, and avoid sugary drinks that can actually cause you to become more dehydrated. Up your water intake on days when you work out more than usual, sweat, or engage in other activities or situations that cause you to lose water.
Alexa Cross is a fitness and health writer, blogging on behalf of www.adventurescrosscountry.com -who maintains that when you’re on the trip of a lifetime, it’s important to stay well hydrated.