Summerâ€™s here, temperatures are rising and for runners, it is important to stay hydrated to increase performance and prevent illness during and after a run.
â€œWhen youâ€™re running in a hot environment, you sweat, and as a result your blood volume decreases, so less blood returns to your heart,â€ said Rachel Perkins-Garner, 56th Medical Group registered nurse. â€œThe symptoms of dehydration are due to loss of water and electrolytes because youâ€™re sweating and sweat is a combination of water and sodium.â€
According to Perkins-Garner, dehydration negatively impacts a personâ€™s overall performance and body function, and from a runnerâ€™s perspective, it may impact oneâ€™s run as well as slow the bodyâ€™s ability to recover for the next dayâ€™s workout.
Donâ€™t wait until you are thirsty to drink; you are most likely already dehydrated.â€
â€” Rachel Perkins-Garner,
56th Medical Group registered nurse
â€œBeing properly hydrated keeps you from cramping up, getting heatstroke and heat cramps,â€ said Pernell Stoney, Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center fitness and sports manager. â€œAnd when you hydrate it keeps your body temperature regulated for you to endure a long-distance run.â€
A few symptoms of dehydration include heat cramps, which are painful muscle spasms in the legs and abdomen, fatigue, headache, dizziness, exhaustion, nausea, and heatstroke.
â€œThe first sign of dehydration is usually heat cramps,â€ Perkins-Garner said. â€œIf you are experiencing this, you need to move to a cool place, drink cool water, lightly stretch the muscle and gently massage the area.â€
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids before and during the run.
â€œDuring a run you should drink a sports drink to provide your body with electrolytes and carbohydrates,â€ Stoney said.
Perkins-Garner recommends drinking water regularly throughout the day prior to a run.
â€œIt is not advisable to wait until your run to push fluids into your body, since this may result in bloating or an increased risk of diarrhea,â€ she said.
A good way to determine if youâ€™re properly hydrated is to look at the color of your urine, according to Perkins-Garner.
â€œIf the urine is the color of lemonade thatâ€™s a good sign of hydration, but if itâ€™s the color of apple juice itâ€™s bad,â€ she said. â€œAnd if your urine is similar to the color of tea, you could be in a critical state.â€
Similar to how runners can look at their urine for signs of dehydration, they can also tell by their thirst.
â€œDonâ€™t wait until you are thirsty to drink; you are most likely already dehydrated,â€ Perkins-Garner said. â€œStay ahead of your hydration.â€