Hydration is often overlooked in the realm of wellness. The main reason is that most people consume enough of it naturally in their diet through either the food or drinks they consume. The body is able to subconsciously regulate its hydration level by creating impulses such as cravings for certain foods or, as dehydration sets in, symptoms like dry mouth, headache, dizziness, and cramps.
Last weekend, my wife and I had a busy day planned running errands around town. I started the morning with a large cup of coffee, which gave me an energy boost. I hadn’t thought too much about my hydration level, as it’s usually something I don’t worry too much about, especially on a cloudy, cool day in March.
We had a small gap in our schedule and decided to get in a quick three- or four-mile run. The run started off great, but as I progressed, I noticed my stomach starting to tighten up. About 1.5 miles into it, I had to pause for a break. The small stitch in my side had tuned into a very uncomfortable, sharp pain.
It was then that it hit me: I was dehydrated. I hadn’t consumed any water in more than 14 hours. This, combined with a bit of cardio exercise, put my body over the edge. After a moderate walking break, I was able to jog my way back to our car and eventually put some water back in my body.
Throughout this entire journey, I was never in any major physical danger and both my wife and I were able to get a good laugh from it all. However, over the course of the day, I experienced a few excruciating cramps in the arch of my foot.
Here are some things you can do to ensure you stay hydrated:
1) Drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best option. Try to drink 8-12 glasses of water throughout your day.
2) Limit other drinks. Soda, sugary sports drinks, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages. These kinds of drinks may seem to quench your thirst, but they actually further dehydrate you.
3) Eat more healthy fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and vegetables are mostly water. Vegetables such as tomatoes and celery are 90% water, which means they are low in calories and can help keep you hydrated.
For more information on staying properly hydrated, check out our article on drinking enough water.