Sneaky Signs of Dehydration
Sometimes knowing when to reach for a glass of water is a simple task. Maybe you spent the afternoon in the sun, sweating and cooking away, and you later notice you are thirsty. A few glasses of water later, you're good as new and feeling refreshed.
But there are less obvious variables that stress your body and deplete waters and salts. Elevation, sun burn even when you aren't warm, and a low-salt diet can make it difficult for your body to maintain hydration. When you experience a more severe dehydration, the signs don't always seem quite so obvious that electrolytes and water are what your body needs most.
In ideal circumstances, your liver would maintain appropriate blood sugar by tapping into glycogen stores between meals. If your liver is too dehydrated to do its job properly, a low blood sugar will send you looking for sugar. Is your sweet tooth something you've been aiming to keep in check? Try for a couple glasses of water and wait a few minutes before indulging! Or compromise by reaching for a juicy piece of fruit! Melons and citrus are full of water but can scratch that itch for your sweet tooth, too.
There are plenty of reasons people get headaches that have little to do with hydration but if dehydration is the source of your achey head, you'll know shortly after you drink up. Pro tip: ice water will take you longer to drink and is a bit more disruptive on your stomach. Plus, many people have sensitive teeth. Water that's a bit closer to room temp will be able to get to work faster so drink up!
When your body has less water than it wants for all basic functions, your saliva pays a price. Oral hygiene takes a hit as your mouth becomes friendlier for bacteria and you may notice your breath isn't as neutral as is normal. Reaching for the toothbrush or antibacterial mouthwash isn't bad for you .. but if you want to solve the root issue, start reaching for the water bottle!
If you've ever attended a HIIT fitness class or recommitted to a demanding activity after losing that specific type of fitness, you know all about DOMS - delay onset muscle soreness. Achey muscles are normal a couple days after a tough workout. But if you feel muscles cramping, twitching, and seizing soon after an activity, that's a sign your body needs water and electrolytes, stat! Don't wait, snag a pack of Electrobites and get the water going. Soup broths are also a fast way to address the salt and hydration issue. You may retain a little more water than you're used to if you have a high-sodium meal but this is good for ensuring water doesn't go straight through you and you will release this extra water once you drink enough for your body to let go of it.
DIZZINESS & NAUSEA
Dizziness and nausea can be a sign of more serious sun-poisoning and should be taken very seriously. If you don't notice improvement as you address your hydration and nutrition and cool your body temperature, contact a medical professional. You can prevent sun-poisoning and serious dehydration with your eating and drinking habits prior to sun exposure and by dressing in clothes that keep your body cool but skin covered. Hats and long sleeves are a significant help in this effort.
All basic body functions rely on water and electrolytes and performance will slump without those. With a little more attention and commitment to your hydration, you can ensure that your body is ready for any activity that comes your way!