Dehydration and Risk of Injuries

Summer is in full swing and the heat and humidity is a huge risk for outdoor athletes in
the summer. Along with increased temperatures at this time of year comes the elevated
risk of dehydration. This risk becomes an even greater concern as people participate in
sports and outdoor activities.

There are a number of risks associated with dehydration. In addition to impacting your
heart, endocrine system, digestion and nervous system, dehydration can contribute to
various muscle injuries. As athletes can lose significant fluid per hour during exercise,
staying hydrated can be difficult.

Some common heat related injuries are heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Heat
cramps can easily develop as your body loses too much water during exercise. These
cramps are not only uncomfortable, but can impact your form and endurance. These
cramps can predispose to a muscle tear.

Heat exhaustion, caused by a sudden increase in core body temperature, can result in
dizziness, fatigue, headaches and even a loss in consciousness. This can cause
serious systemic effects leading to hospitalization.

The keys to staying hydrated is first, drink plenty of water prior to participating in
exercise. Up to 2 hours before starting your activity, you should be consuming around
20 ounces of water. Secondly, drink plenty of water during your workout or outdoor
activity. You should consistently drink between 7 and 10 ounces of water every 10-20
minutes while exercising. It is important to be consistent with hydration throughout the
day. Sports drinks and coconut water can provide an added benefit of replenishing
electrolytes lost through sweat.

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