Hydration Tips for Warm Temps
Dr. Kevin Rindal here, I’m currently working with a group of elite athletes in Naples, Italy. During this time, I’d like to share with you some ideas relevant to elite and professional athletes that you can apply to your everyday life.
One of the common situations encountered by athletes is training and competing in very hot conditions. In order to successfully navigate these situations, an athlete must be prepared and very thoughtful in their approach to maintaining adequate hydration. Let’s look at two key steps to ensure you keep your hydration levels on track:
Monitoring Hydration levels
Athletes know that paying attention to what comes out is just as important as what goes in when monitoring their hydration levels. They do this by paying close attention to the frequency and color of their urine, as this is a good gauge of hydration levels. However, it is important to note that if the urine is infrequent (less than 6 times per 24 hour period) and the color is a dark yellow or amber color, this is a sign that dehydration has already set in. It is extremely important for this athlete to take a break from exercise and find a cool place to recover and rehydrate. It is also important that they are not just drinking water, but also consuming liquids that contain electrolytes, as the body loses key electrolytes when sweating and in order for the cells of the body to re-hydrate properly, electrolytes need to also be consumed.
If you have a physically demanding job and work in an area that tends to experience high heat and humidity, similar to an athlete, it is just as important for you to monitor your hydration levels and the frequency and color of your urine to ensure that you stay safe. If your urine is dark yellow, it is important that you find a cool place to rest and consume an electrolyte based drink as well as consume some calories. If you feel lightheaded or woozy, make sure to get help, potentially professional medical help to ensure you have not progressed to experiencing heat exhaustion. If your urine is a color other than a shade of yellow (see urine color guide) there may be experiencing a more serious medical condition and should contact your medical provider. It is important to note that certain foods (like beets) and supplements can impact the color of your urine, so keep this in mind if you see a different color or shade of yellow than you are used to.
If Your Hydration is Off, Get it Back on Track ASAP
My favorite way to get my hydration back on track if I have been exercising or working in warm temperatures is to drink 24-32 oz. of water with 2 Nuun Tablets and eat an Rx. Bar (my favorite is the Peanut Butter Protein). I like Nuun because it has all the electrolytes I need without any sugar or artificial sweeteners or colors. The same is true for Rx. Bars, they have no added sugar and simple ingredients that help me get protein and replenish the calories I have burned.
When it comes to heat and hydration, we can learn from athletes, but you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of monitoring and replenishing your hydration and electrolyte levels. For additional insight on hydration, check out this previous blog post in the Vimocity Learning Center.