By: Frank McNeilly
Dehydration is a natural occurrence while exercising.
As natural as it is, it can also be dangerous because of the effect that dehydration has on the body.
Staying hydrated while exercising is important because the body loses water.
Symptoms of dehydration include headache, lightheadedness and fatigue.
I have been a victim of dehydration time and time again.
One day while exercising, dehydration took me down in the worst way possible.
One morning before I went swimming and running, I drank coffee in the morning before heading out to exercise.
That was the wrong morning to drink that morning coffee. Before that fateful morning I had drank coffee in the morning a few hours before exercising, but the coffee that morning did not sit well with me while I exercised.
The exercise plan was the same as it had been last summer: I would start the morning workout with a 30 minute swim, followed by a swift 12 minute run and end with pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups.
Less than 10 minutes into the run, I began to feel dizzy.
Then it happened.
I dizzily struggled to the bathroom and immediately hovered over a toilet and threw up that morning coffee that refused to stay in because of the great loss of water.
After nearly blacking out from vomiting and dehydration I struggled to get out of the bathroom and to a drinking fountain where I could bury my head for five minutes to rehydrate.
This was a wake-up call for how important it really is to dehydrate before, during and after exercising.
This harrowing experience deterred me from doing any kind of extreme exercising in the morning as well as making my fondness for running drop like a rock.
I now exercise in the afternoon or the early evening in order to avoid crossing my caffeine fix in the morning with exercise.
Dehydration is taught as early as elementary school but the effects of dehydration, like headaches, nausea and dizziness are not taken as seriously until they are experienced.
The guideline for the amount of water consumption per day is eight glasses.
That changes with exercise. Depending on how much water is lost while exercising, more water is needed to be consumed; possibly as much as two to four extra glasses of water.
Is it possible to rehydrate from something other than water?
Juice, non caffeinated teas and fruit juice can contribute to daily water consumption, but do not have the hydrating power of water.
Coffee, caffeinated tea and soda also can contribute to daily water consumption, but caffeine and sugar can be dehydrating if too much is contained in coffee, tea or soda beverage.
Sports drinks can replace electrolytes lost from exercising, but some sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar which can be dehydrating.
12 ounces of a fruit punch flavored Gatorade contains 21 grams of sugar. 12 ounces of a fruit punch flavored Powerade contains 20 grams of sugar.
What happens when too much water is consumed?
Drinking too much water has similar drawbacks as dehydration; including nausea, headaches and fatigue.
However, the chances of over-hydration during exercise are unlikely because of the amount of water that the body loses while exercising.
The only way a person could over-hydrate while exercising is if they are not losing copious amounts of water from their body, as well as drinking more water than they need from the recommended eight glasses a day and the water that is lost while exercising.
With the chances of over-hydrating during a workout unlikely, there should not be much concern with drinking too much water while exercising.
The body ultimately needs to be rehydrated, and it usually needs more water than many of us think it needs.
Eight glasses per day is what is recommended without exercise. Adding in exercise commands that more water is consumed and that you may have to use the facilities slightly more often to accommodate.