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Beat Dehydration for Good With These Expert Tips

December 02, 2019DMT.NEWS

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Experts Share How to Tell if Youre Dehydrated & What to Do About It

We all know how good it feels to pound back a bottle of water after a hard workout or during those wee hours of the night when nothing on earth sounds as good as a cold glass of water. You’re both doing your body good by replenishing your fluids and giving into something so satisfying and guilt-free … but there’s a reason it feels so good to suck back a bottle of water after a sweat session.

RELATED: The Best Water Bottles to Keep You Hydrated

Becoming dehydrated doesn’t just happen when you’re sweating it out at the gym or deep in sleep, though. It can happen just as easily if you aren’t getting enough hydration at your desk, or if your vitamin and mineral intake is imbalanced. You’re probably well aware of the fact that you should be eating a balanced diet in the form of fruits and vegetables, but among other things, it’s unparalleled in helping your hydration levels. Fresh fruits and veggies have large amounts of water, salt and vitamins that your body needs to stay hydrated.

There are handfuls of other ways to ensure you’re staying well hydrated once you have the foundations down. We reached out to some of the top experts in our network to get their take on, first, how to tell if you’re veering toward dehydration, and second, exactly what to do about it and how to prevent it in the future.

Take a Peek at Your … Pee

It may seem gross, but taking a look in the toilet bowl is the easiest, and most reliable way to tell if you’re lacking fluids. “The number one test I use to see if I'm dehydrated is the pee test. If your urine is dark yellow, you are not drinking enough water,” says Mike Miller, Editor-in-Chief of Wilderness Times. “In addition, if you aren't peeing frequently, you're probably dehydrated.” According to Miller, when you're thoroughly hydrated, you should be peeing often and your pee should be clear. “Checking your pee is a solid indicator because it allows you to catch dehydration before other symptoms come to the surface,” he adds.

Watch For Headaches and Muscle Cramps

If you’ve just had a tough workout or you haven’t been drinking your eight-plus glasses a day, the symptoms can feel a little more severe. “The next indications of dehydration are physical,” explains Miller. “Headaches, muscle cramps, dry mouth and loss of focus are symptoms to identify. If you're feeling any of these, start pounding the water immediately.”

Dazed and Confused

If severe dehydration is setting in, you'll have dry skin, you'll need to sit down, and your heartbeat will jump up. “You might feel dizzy or even feel like fainting – at this point, stop what you're doing! You're in a bad place,” says Miller.

How To Hydrate In A Hurry

1. Start Pounding Water

“The number one treatment for dehydration is of course … water. Start drinking as much water as possible,” says Miller. Warm water is preferable to cold water since your body will absorb it faster. According to Miller, that's because cold water requires heating up, which will take away precious energy from your body. Warm water goes right in, so stick with that. “However, don't chug the water. You don't want to shock your system by flooding it with water. Take small, gradual sips and take your time,” he adds.

2. Don’t Shy Away From Sports Drinks

“When I go hiking, I usually bring a few packs of powdered Gatorade. This allows me to quickly get some much-needed hydration if I'm feeling weak,” Miller says. “The powder form makes it so I can carry Gatorade anywhere and everywhere.” Try to drink sports drinks to replenish your electrolytes if you’re feeling severely dehydrated; they were made to replenish the fluids and minerals you lose during a sweaty workout.

3. Stop What You’re Doing and Breath

When you feel dehydrated, stop whatever activity you're doing and take a break. “Physical exertion will stress you out and make you sweat even more water out,” says Miller. “Pause yourself, and re-hydrate before starting again.” Miller also urges anyone feeling dehydrated to make sure they’re breathing well. “Stand up straight and take long, deep breaths. In through your nose, out through your mouth. This won't cure dehydration, but it will help your body relax and prevent symptoms from getting worse,” he says.

4. Make Hydrating Fun

Although it can be dull to always choose water to drink when you are thirsty, avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, hydration doesn’t have to be boring. Laura Cason, RD, LDN, suggests keeping a gallon pitcher or container full of ice water and citrus fruit slices to make it more flavorful! “You can also bring a reusable water bottle to work and keep it at your desk with a goal to drink it all before the end of the day!” Making staying hydrated a challenge can add a new dimension to your fluid consumption that will make it easier to see through your body’s daily requirements.

5. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Last but not least, you may want to consider putting down that coffee or cocktail. “It may sound hard to make choices that force you to refrain from your morning coffee but to prevent dehydration, you need to avoid alcohol consumption along with caffeine products like tea and soft drinks (sorry!),” says Daniel DeMoss, personal trainer. “Dehydration occurs when the body is releasing more fluid than it intakes. This imbalance causes digestive, respiratory and skin problems in people of all ages.”

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Kaitlyn McInnis, Khareem Sudlow

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