Tips to prevent dehydration during summer sports
Dehydration elevates the heart rate and our internal temperature and makes physical effort become more and more difficult. (Sura Nualpradid/Shutterstock)
Published Tuesday, July 14, 2015 12:22PM EDT
Summer's rise in temperatures heightens dehydration risk for fitness fanatics. To avoid continue playing hard this summer, it is important to know how to stay hydrated in all situations under the sun.
What is dehydration?
During physical activity, our body temperature increases significantly. The body responds by perspiring, which allows our body to maintain a stable temperature. The flipside is that while we sweat we also lose water and risk dehydration.
Dehydration elevates the heart rate and our internal temperature and makes physical effort become more and more difficult. If we don't rehydrate sufficiently, the body pumps more blood to the skin in an attempt to reduce the excess of heat. However, this process also reduces the amount of oxygen being circulated to the brain and the muscles. In extreme cases, the body simply stops functioning correctly and can even lose consciousness.
When we are dehydrated, the most frequent symptoms are nausea, light-headedness and general confusion accompanied by a high heart rate and a feeling of fatigue.
How to stay well hydrated
The amount of water to drink during a session of physical activity depends on each individual as well as the ambient temperature. It is essential, however, to always begin a sporting activity well hydrated. Observing the color of your urine is a simple indicator: it should be pale yellow. If the color is dark, this could indicate a lack of water in the body.
During physical activity, it is important to drink regularly. If you are running for less than an hour, regular water is sufficient to keep you well hydrated. Beyond this time-frame, drinking a sports drink as well as water is recommended. Or, consume 20 to 30g of sugar (about 8 sugar cubes) diluted in 1 liter of water.
To recuperate post-workout, it is important to favour sparkling water over flat as they are rich in bicarbonate and sodium. When it's particularly hot out, don't hesitate to add a pinch of salt to your water (around 1g per liter).
Energy drinks or sports drinks?
Sports drinks are perfectly adapted to the body's needs during physical activity. They contain carbohydrates, minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium) as well as vitamin D that is best absorbed by the body's organism when exposed to the sun.
On the contrary, energy drinks are not recommended during sports as they contain stimulating ingredients like caffeine, ginseng, taurine, and guarana that can provoke serious cardiac and gastric problems.