Health & Safety

June 29, 2012

Downing fluids before running helps keep body hydrated, healthy

by Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Summer’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.

“When you’re running in a hot environment, you sweat, and as a result your blood volume decreases, so less blood returns to your heart,” said Rachel Perkins-Garner, 56th Medical Group registered nurse. “The symptoms of dehydration are due to loss of water and electrolytes because you’re sweating and sweat is a combination of water and sodium.”

According to Perkins-Garner, dehydration negatively impacts a person’s overall performance and body function, and from a runner’s perspective, it may impact one’s run as well as slow the body’s ability to recover for the next day’s workout.

Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink; you are most likely already dehydrated.”

— Rachel Perkins-Garner,
56th Medical Group registered nurse

“Being properly hydrated keeps you from cramping up, getting heatstroke and heat cramps,” said Pernell Stoney, Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center fitness and sports manager. “And when you hydrate it keeps your body temperature regulated for you to endure a long-distance run.”

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.

“The first sign of dehydration is usually heat cramps,” Perkins-Garner said. “If you are experiencing this, you need to move to a cool place, drink cool water, lightly stretch the muscle and gently massage the area.”

To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids before and during the run.

“During a run you should drink a sports drink to provide your body with electrolytes and carbohydrates,” Stoney said.

Perkins-Garner recommends drinking water regularly throughout the day prior to a run.

“It 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,” she said.

A good way to determine if you’re properly hydrated is to look at the color of your urine, according to Perkins-Garner.

“If the urine is the color of lemonade that’s a good sign of hydration, but if it’s the color of apple juice it’s bad,” she said. “And if your urine is similar to the color of tea, you could be in a critical state.”

Similar to how runners can look at their urine for signs of dehydration, they can also tell by their thirst.

“Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink; you are most likely already dehydrated,” Perkins-Garner said. “Stay ahead of your hydration.”




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