As the weather heats up dehydration can unexpectedly hit, even on shorter runs. Here's everything you need to know on why hydration is important, the dangers of dehydrations, and a comprehensive guide to sports drinks to keep you running easily and healthily whatever the weather.
Although severe dehydration is rare, running in the heat can cause some common symptoms.
The most common signs of dehydration include fatigue, headaches, dizziness and decreased coordination. After you run, ensure you're drinking enough fluids.
Loss of electrolytes from sweating can cause muscle spasms and cramping during your run and in the hours after. Although it's not serious, ensure you're staying hydrated and eat food high in potassium like sweet potatoes, avocados and bananas.
Defined by dehydration, headaches, nausea and a core body temperature of up to 40°C, heat exhaustion is common in runners who haven't yet adapted to the heat.
Other symptoms may include dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, pale and clammy skin, cramps in the arms/legs/stomach, fast breathing/fast pulse and intense thirst.
If you start experiencing these symptoms, move to a cool place, lie and down and raise your feet slightly. Drink plenty of water (this can include sports and rehydration drinks). Try to cool your skin with wet cloths, fans or cold packs.
1. Carry a water bottle or water bladder with you:
Depending on the length of your run you should probably carry some water with you, especially in hotter weather where you are more likely to overheat and get dehydrated. If you are running outside for a long period of time, then a water bladder is ideal and will easily fit into a running backpack. If you're in the gym, a water bottle will be easier as many machines have a water bottle holder (and you probably won't be wearing a backpack on the treadmill).
2. Don't just drink water: This might sound counterintuitive but you need more than water to stay hydrated. When you sweat you lose electrolytes, as well as energy, which can put stress on your body. There is now a huge range of hydration tabs that can rehydrate you with essential electrolytes.
3. Know your limits: This might sound like obvious advice but if your body is telling you to slow down or stop then do it. In hotter weather, your body will be put under increased stress from dehydration and increased temperatures, so listening to it when it starts exhibiting symptoms of dehydration is really important. If you start exhibiting symptoms of dehydration be sure to hydrate and keep an eye on your intensity.