Hydration was recently brought up as a topic of discussion in the Race-Dezert forum. Dehydration can kill you. It’s that simple. Consider the fact that we are more than likely racing in 100+ degree temperatures wrapped in race suit and strapped to a searing hot engine. Let’s face it, as Americans we are not in the best physical condition to begin with. Wrap all of that together and you have a recipe for disaster. Whether you are racer, crew member, spectator or volunteer, we all need to prepare our body for being in the extreme heat by hydrating ahead of time and making sure we stay hydrated during the race. No matter what type of role you have in racing, you are going to be out in the sun for 12 hours and the heat will take its toll on your body.
In regular conditions, we are supposed to drink eight ounce glasses of water daily. So in preparation for a race, what should you be drinking? Simple answer, about double that.
Here’s what happens when you get dehydrated.
At minimum, you’ll get dizzy, lethargic, your muscles won’t work as well, you won’t feel as sharp mentally, and you’ll get cramps. At worst your brain stops functioning and you crash your vehicle.
Here are just a few side effects to dehydration.
If you don’t drink enough fluids when you’re exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema)
Sometimes, when you’re getting fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. The consequences are especially grave when brain cells are affected.
Electrolytes — such as potassium and sodium — help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness.
Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock)
This is one of the most serious and sometimes life-threatening complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
This potentially life-threatening problem occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood.
Coma and death.
When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there on dehydration, so we asked our friends of at HDX Hydration Mix to give a little more knowledge on what’s going on inside your body and how to properly hydrate.
Dehydration is the direct result of a shortage of water in your body. The human body is made up of 75% water, so even just a slight drop in water can complicate performance.
Here’s the breakdown of where all this water is stored:
When blood gets thicker due to the lack of water, the body has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Blood flow is critical to delivering oxygen along with minerals and nutrients.
When the blood gets thicker it has to work harder and it isn’t able to quickly deliver oxygen and minerals and nutrients to muscles, the heart and the brain. All key areas that athletes need to perform at their best and recover faster.
Let use traffic as an analogy to help put things into perspective. We’ve all been in traffic – that slow 5mph traffic. Imagine the cars being minerals and nutrients, when they go slow they can’t get to where they need to and when there’s no traffic, everything flows smoothly.
Staying hydrated is critical to the body and understanding what is going on inside should help you to understand why hydration is key for athletes.
To reduce the risk of becoming dehydrated, athletes should develop a hydration strategy that includes HDX Hydration Mix to replenish valuable minerals and nutrients needed before, during and after training and competition.
Understanding the importance of hydration begins with knowing how dehydration happens.
Dehydration is the direct result of low fluid (water) in the body. We lose water on a daily basis just through natural activities like breathing and urinating. Add in a little exercise and heat and water can escape the body through sweat causing dehydration to set in more rapidly. It’s also known amongst elite athletes and their trainers that just a 2% drop in fluids can result in up to a 10% decrease in performance. Now 2% may not seem like a lot but its easy and common for many athletes to function in a constant state of 2% dehydration but they’re not realizing they’re full potential and only waiting for the body to fail and risk injury and reduce recovery time.
Water is essential for our bodies to transport nutrients and oxygen and being hydrated has many benefits that include regulating body temperature, reducing the risk of muscle cramping, heat exhaustion and heat stroke and it’s key for optimal brain function. Even subtle, low-level dehydration can negatively impact our energy and alertness.
What many athletes have a hard time with is replenishing the water in the body. And more important, restoring the essential minerals and nutrients such as electrolytes, vitamins, amino acids and minerals that help the body to retain the water for longer periods of time and through excessive activities. These minerals are critical in helping the body to function and the tougher the conditions, the greater the need for implementing a hydration strategy. After all, the human body is the most important piece of equipment. You can have the best tires, shocks, engine, etc. but if the body is not prepared and well hydrated it really won’t matter how good all the rest of that expensive equipment is.
Thirst isn’t always a reliable indicator of how much we need to drink. You can have a reduced sensation of thirst, and, quite frankly, many of us are often too distracted and not tuned in to our body’s thirst cues, and we can easily miss the signs that we need to drink up. The good news is that sweat can be looked as a physical indicator to start hydrating. At the point that the body starts to sweat, you should begin to put fluids back in your body by drinking plenty of water in addition to electrolytes.
“Many people wait too long to hydrate and rely on symptoms like headaches, dry mouth, fatigue or dark urine before they hydrate but sweat is the body’s way of giving us a physical alert,” =said Stu White from HDX Fit. “Once we start to sweat, that should be your signal to start hydrating immediately and not wait for any other symptoms to pop up.”
Now it’s easy to reach for the popular sports drink or an energy drink but these can do more harm than good. These types of drinks are loaded with sugar, carbohydrates, calories and caffeine that can bring on dehydration quicker. Try to avoid these at all costs leading up to the race and especially on race day.
To reduce the risk of becoming dehydrated, racers should develop a hydration strategy that includes HDX Hydration Mix or similar hydration mix to replenish valuable minerals and nutrients needed before, during and after training and competition. We created this formula specifically for people that push their bodies to the limit and perform in extreme conditions. You won’t find a better, healthier and simpler way to keep you and your crew ready for race day.
Join the discussion here: http://www.race-dezert.com/forum/threads/hydrate-or-die.126325