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Water Please

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:03am

Spring is over here in the South. We are experiencing 90 degree weather and little rain. Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and increased daylight, but when I’m teaching a BODYSTEP™ class at 9 am and it feels like we are standing in a sauna, the warm temperatures can be a little overbearing. When I came home after my class my stomach began to ache and I started to get a headache. Later I was very lethargic and could barely keep my eyes open. Today I believe I experienced a very small reaction to a major loss of fluids through sweat and not adequately hydrating called dehydration. 

There are several causes of dehydration including diarrhea and vomiting, bacterial infections, and the one we are going to focus on excessive sweating without out hydration. If you have been running, exercising in the heat or if you are exercising in a room without much air, make sure to stay hydrated taking breaks for a little sip of water. If you are training for an endurance race or exercise try to drink plenty of fluids two hours prior to the event.  Once you have completed your exercise make sure to drink plenty of fluids to restore what has been lost.  The goal is to be well hydrated before you exercise so that you won’t be dehydrated after. Think of it like a family loading up in a car to go on a long drive for vacation. Most of us fill up our cars in preparation for a trip. We also need to fuel up (or fill up ) to prevent depleting what is stored in our bodies.

One way to test dehydration is to check to make sure your urine is clear and also monitor the amount of times you urinate. If your urine is clear and you go to the restroom often (more than once or twice in an eight hour period) then you may be safe.

If you are unsure if you are experience dyhydration the Mayo Clinic has a great list of symptoms (see below)

Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness - children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output - fewer than six wet diapers a day for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Lack of sweating
  • Little or no urination - any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels - the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

I hope you enjoy your summer and take the precautions needed to avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids and take necessary breaks to keep your body temperature low.

For more information about dehydration you can visit the Mayo Clinic by clicking here.

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