Summer is here as are summer sports! This past weekend I participated in the Ragnar Northwest Passage Race, where I was reminded of the importance of proper hydration when exercising as well as in daily life.
All too often, we forget to stay hydrated, leave the water bottle at home, and find ourselves with a dry mouth or muscle cramps, etc later. This is extremely evident when looking at runners, cyclists, and triathletes who compete in long duration activities. Even slight dehydration can immensely impact performance and recovery.
Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30% (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990).
As indicated by the above quote, it is possible to determine your level of hydration vs dehydration using your bathroom scale. A best practice is to weigh yourself naked before your workout, then again after. When you compare the numbers, you can see if you were adequately hydrating during your exercise. A discrepancy indicates that you need to increase your fluid intake during the course of your workout.
Remember, that drinking only when thirsty is not an accurate way to assess hydration. You are already dehydrated when you are thirsty! Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the course of every day is beneficial to overall health and it is best not to be dehydrated when beginning your exercise!
It may also be of benefit to discuss your hydration levels and training practices with your coach, medical doctor, chiropractor, PT, etc and assess your specific needs including electrolyte intake.
While dehydration impacts overall health, many times we first see this as a drop in performance.
According to Human Kinetics, dehydration impacts performance for the following reasons: reduction in blood volume, decreased skin blood flow, decreased sweat rate, decreased heat dissipation, increased core temperature, and increased rate of muscle glycogen use.
Please speak with your health care provider regarding your individual needs as an athlete, whether you run 5K’s or 100 mile races. Each person’s body has unique needs and this blog is intended for informational purposes only. If you would like to speak with Seed of Life Chiropractic and Wellness, LLC about your health, please make an appointment!