I am willing to bet you know two solid facts about hydration:
1. You need to drink water
2. You need to replenish electrolytes.
However, knowing those two facts does not mean that most athletes do it correctly. Being properly hydrated for exercise and competition is key to preventing decreases in strength, endurance, and even injury while playing.
Do you know when you are dehydrated?
Drinking water and electrolytes during exercise help prevent dehydration. What I have found in my years working the sidelines of games and covering practices is that many athletes don’t actually know what the signs of dehydration are; They are also not in tune with what their body feels like when it begins to happen.
Know what your body is going to do when you become dehydrated. This way, you can take the appropriate steps, (i.e. drinking water and electrolytes) to prevent it from happening.
The Six Signs of Dehydration
It is your body telling you that you are becoming dehydrated, but by this time you are already not properly hydrated.
You may be low on fluids if you find that you are more tired than you usually are at that point during a practice or game.
3. Excessive Salt Deposits on Skin
If you find dry white stuff around your face or in your clothes, this is salt. As you exercise an find that you are a heavy salt sweater, this could be an increased risk of dehydration.
4. Muscle Cramping
People usually think that cramping is one of the first signs of dehydration, but your body has already been telling you that you are becoming dehydrated for a while with thirst and fatigue. Some more recent research has begun to show that dehydration may only play a small part in muscle cramping during exercise and that neuromuscular fatigue may be the bigger issue; which may explain why athletes still can cramp when hydrated.
*5. Nausea and lightheadedness
If you are to this point, you have or are coming close to the brink of developing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This is very serious. These are not symptoms you should be playing through, you need to stop to hydrate and cool down.
*6. Pale or sweaty skin
If your skin is pale/cold/clammy and you are excessively sweaty you are progressing towards heat syncope (loss of consciousness) or exhaustion. Your body is starting to take steps to cool itself off anyway it can, and once again you need to stop playing and hydrate/cool down
You don’t want to be dehydrated . . .
These are six easy signs to learn to look and feel to see if you are becoming or are dehydrated. Signs and symptoms get much worse as dehydration progresses. At that time you are in need of medical attention, it usually involves having a thermometer put somewhere you really don’t want one to be….
Check this Out
This infographic was created so that you can easily remember the six signs of dehydration.
*I wanted to include the last two signs because dehydration and heat illness are directly related to each other.