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Women in exercise clothes laying on the ground in the desert dehydrated

How to Know the Signs of Dehydration and Prevent It

lifestyle nutrition Jul 14, 2021

It’s summer, and the temperature outside is more or less regularly over 90 degrees. Prime time for dehydration. If where you live also happens to be humid, then you’ve just moved into the dehydration fast lane. And for all of you who exercise outdoors – biking, running, hiking, boot camp – you’re basically driving a Ferrari on the autobahn to dehydration-land. You’ve heard the tips a million times, but they’re important enough that they bear repeating:

1. Drink often (water and herbal or decaf teas are best)

2. Skip the caffeine (which will dehydrate you)

3. Drink icy cold beverages to get your internal temperature down quicker

4. Monitor the color of your urine (clear or pale yellow is normal).

5. Consume electrolytes! Exercise induces sweat, which contains both water and electrolytes. The loss of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) can speed the rate of dehydration. Our favorite brand of electrolytes is LMNT.

Here are the signs of dehydration:

  • Thirst (Obvious!) Thirst is actually a poor indicator of your hydration status. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re actually about 1-2% dehydrated, which is significant.
  • Dry or sticky mouth 
  • Headache and migraine (Many a migraine can be averted in the early stages by drinking 2-3 cups of water)
  • Low back pain: this is the kidney’s way of asking for more water.
  • Chapped lips: don’t lick them as it will make them drier
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness upon rising/standing quickly: blood pressure may also drop when you go from lying down to standing)
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation and/or dry/hard stools
  • Poor skin turgor: check with “flat” hand. Pinch and pick up the skin on the back of your hand. It should immediately bounce back – and will normally do so when well hydrated. If it flattens out slowly, then you’re likely dehydrated. Do this for a few days, note what’s normal for you.)
  • Low or no urine output
  • Concentrated urine appears dark yellow
  • Rapid heart rate

We recommend that you drink at least 2 liters of water (with added electrolytes) or other decaffeinated beverages per day, more if you are exercising. Try water, sparkling water, water with a healthy squeeze of your favorite citrus fruit, decaf green tea, and herbal tea. Pop a water bottle into the freezer for at least an hour (or even overnight) and you will have a nice cold bottle to help you cool down on a hot day.

You can also eat foods with a high water content, like fruit, veggies, and soup. Yes, soup! Check out our Go-to Green Smoothie recipe that will fill you up and keep you hydrated all summer long!