Maybe you’ve heard this before, but what they say is true: if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. But that does not mean it’s too late!
Thirst is a signal from your body to let you know that your body fluid is not well-balanced. Hydration is important for everyone, especially when embarking on exercise. The sweatier the endeavour, the more important it is to go into the work fully-hydrated. Well-known signs of dehydration like fatigue, rapid or labored breathing, flushed skin, increased pulse rate, weakness and dizziness indicate moderate to severe dehydration.
“When you get thirsty, the deficit of water in your body is trivial — it’s a very sensitive gauge,” Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told HuffPost in January. “It might be only a 1 percent reduction in your overall water. And it just requires drinking some fluid.”
Take these guidelines into consideration as you go about your day-to-day life, paying attention to the signs of dehydration at all times of the day, especially before and after exercise. Identifying trends in your own body and acting accordingly is your best defense against dehydration.
You Have a Headache
Unless you’re literally drinking water all the time, your body is constantly losing fluid, along with sodium and potassium, the essential salts that reside in body fluids. The salt loss leads to a drop in blood volume, which triggers headaches. The greater the deficit, the greater the headache.
Extreme sweatiness isn’t the only sign of low body fluid levels. When blood volume levels are low enough, skin can become very dry.
Dark Yellow Pee
One easy, albeit a little gross, way to easily assess hydration is examining your urine. Take a peek before you flush, the closer to clear, the better. When there aren’t enough fluids in your body, the waste is harder to flush out, so it just stays there.
Same idea as with urine. Water helps move waste through your colon and out of your body. Without enough water, the waste doesn’t have the momentum to move on as efficiently.
Without enough fluid, the bacteria in your mouth can go into overgrowth. Occasional dehydration won’t necessarily result in bad breath, but with chronic dehydration, it’s all but guaranteed.
Especially for sweets. Dehydration makes it harder for your organs to function at full capacity. The liver for instance, needs water to release glycogens and other components of your energy stores. Without enough water, you can actually get cravings for foods high in glycogen, aka, anything sugary. Reach for fruits like strawberries and melons to satisfy the sugar craving and the thirst all at once.