Beat the dreaded effects of exercise dehydration thanks to these top tips from Dr Hazel Wallace.
If you sweat when you work out then you need to make sure you don’t end up suffering from exercise dehydration. Yes, it’s a thing. To help you keep on track we’ve picked the brains of Dr Hazel Wallace.
What is post-workout dehydration?
“Post-workout dehydration occurs as a result of excessive sweating during exercise, through which a large amount of the body’s water is lost.”
How is sweating linked to dehydration?
“Our bodies lose around 6-8 glasses of water each day through various bodily functions such as urination, breathing and sweating. Activities such as exercise and sitting in the sun can lead to excess sweating, causing the body to lose a larger amount of water. This then increases the risk of dehydration, if that water isn’t replaced. You should drink more than normal while exercising, and it’s particularly important to keep well hydrated if you’re exercising in warm conditions.”
How can I stay hydrated when exercising?
“You can keep hydrated when exercising by drinking more water than you usually would. The amount required will depend on a number of factors, including your gender, fitness level and the exercise intensity. For example, men tend to sweat more than women, so usually require more water to keep hydrated during exercise.
“As a rule of thumb, most people will need to drink 1.2 litres of water, or 6 to 8 glasses, each day. In terms of exercising, for every kilogram of body weight you lose in sweat from intense exercise, it is recommended to drink up to a litre and a half of fluid. Although, for moderate exercise it is unlikely that you would lose this amount!”
How does dehydration affect exercise?
“Being dehydrated can affect energy and performance levels and, and also make you more prone to muscle cramps. If you’re dehydrated before you start exercising you heart also has to work harder than usual so your temperature will rise faster.”
Can you sweat if you are dehydrated?
“Yes you can sweat. However, the concern if you’re dehydrated is that your blood becomes more concentrated and pressure lowers so it is less able to flow to the organs that need it. Because your nervous system finds it harder to stabilise, this can increase risk of fainting.”
What do I do if I’m dehydrated?
“The best way to treat mild to moderate dehydration is to drink lots of fluids; water, diluted squash or oral rehydration salts. You can also use oral rehydration sachets which are specially formulated to rehydrate the body after fluid loss by replacing the lost electrolytes, sodium and potassium.”