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The Importance of Staying Hydrated

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Baylor Scott & White Round Rock Sports Medicine Team is helping you get through the long, hot Austin summer.

8750036_lAre you staying properly hydrated when you exercise? It can be easy to forget to drink fluids while you are having fun.

Water is one of the most essential components of the human body. Necessary to the healthy function of all internal organs, water must be consumed to replace the amount lost each day during basic activities. Water regulates the body’s temperature, cushions and protects vital organs, and aids the digestive system. If there is not enough water for the body to cool itself through sweating, the body enters a state of dehydration.

In a dehydrated state, the body is unable to cool itself, leading to heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke. Without an adequate supply of water, the body will lack energy and coordination, and muscles may fatigue and develop cramps. Dehydration can lead to headaches, nausea, fatigue, backaches and an inability to concentrate. For regular exercisers, maintaining a constant supply of water in the body is essential to performance, as even small amounts of water loss may hinder athletic performance.

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? You may be dehydrated.

  • High body temperature
  • Weakness
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dryness of the mouth or throat
  • Headache

So how can you prevent becoming dehydrated while you’re being active? Water should be your No. 1 drink choice. Try to stay away from sugary and caffeinated drinks, especially when you are exercising. As a rule of thumb, you should try to drink at least 64 ounces of water-based beverages throughout the day. When exercising, you will need even more fluids to replenish the water lost through sweat. It is very important to drink a cup of water before exercise and at least two to three cups after your workout.

Sometimes it is necessary to consume a drink with electrolytes. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, can also help athletes during practice, if they contain the right ingredients. Drinks that contain electrolytes, elements such as sodium and potassium, help replace the salts the body loses in sweat during activity. These drinks can be used in moderation during and after activity.


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