Dehydration: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention Tips

The importance of drinking water during, before, and after exercising cannot be overstated. Because your body is operating with more energy-consuming actions, its essential to replenish fluids. Regardless of the temperature or time of year, hydrating regularly helps your body to overcome the loss of fluids during physical activity. As an athlete or gym goer, it’s important to be able to monitor hydration.


How Much Water is Necessary?

The proper amount of water required to stay hydrated is not uniform. It also changes based on the conditions. The average amount of water required to stay hydrated in a given day is 8 glasses. This is, however, affected by the weather, the amount of physical activity performed, the body mass of the individual, and other factors. Even for individuals who are not athletes, staying hydrated is essential. Those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes and heart disease should take care to drink even more water.

Avoid Sports Drinks

Water is the liquid that will hydrate your body best. Other sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, will aid in electrolyte replenishment, but will not fully hydrate you. When dehydrated, the sugar content of Gatorade might have a negative impact on your stomach. Alternatively, diluted fruit juices, skimmed milk and bananas or oranges may help as well.

Causes of Dehydration

Aside from failing to drink water regularly, there are a few reasons that one can become dehydrated.

  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Sweating during or after physical activity
  • Unusually violent vomiting
  • Excessive diarrhea and/or urination

Dehydration Symptoms

Especially in a group or team setting, being able to observe dehydration symptoms in others is as important as recognizing your own symptoms.

  • Thirst
  • Light-headedness
  • General sluggishness
  • Dry mouth, eyes or lips
  • Dark or concentrated urine

Benefits of Hydration

Being hydrated will help you to remain refreshed and alert. However, there are also several physical benefits:

  • Cardiovascular benefits– Staying hydrated is essential to weight loss, as is cardiovascular health. Being in a state of dehydration prevents you from being able to benefit from a workout.
  • Improves joints and muscles– In a state of optimal hydration, the water located outside of your muscles contributes nutrients and removes waste. Water also lubricates joints, which also helps your performance.
  • Kidney regulation– There are myriad other ways that the human body utilizes water. The kidneys use water to filter and excrete waste from bloodstreams. Water is also instrumental in preventing urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

Staying hydrated will help your body to maintain optimal physical and mental performance, regardless of the conditions. At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, we strongly recommend taking an active stance against dehydration by drinking water regularly.