At this time of year, we’re all aware about the possibility of dehydration. But as runners and active people we’re often sweating, and can be vulnerable to dehydration at any time. So what are the symptoms?
– Dark colour urine. Come on, you knew that one, but how often have you come back from a cold wet Gwent League in November, been confronted with the symptoms, and thought ‘aha, I haven’t drunk anything since breakfast’!? Ditto not needing to pee for hours on end.
– Headache or light-headedness, sometimes flu-like. If you don’t feel right in your head, and your pee is brown, you know what to do.
– Feeling weak, lacking stamina, or generally tired. This is a good one for parents and coaches to look out for, although unfortunately often only spotted after a race or run.
– The pinch test. Pinch and hold the skin on the back of your hand, and hold it for a few seconds. When you let it go, how quickly does it spring back to shape? Obviously, oldies like me have slacker skin, but if your skin stays folded for a few seconds you’re probably dehydrated. Try it now, when hopefully you’re well hydrated, so you need to know what is normal for you.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any magic isotonic drink with you, just drink what you can get hold of. It may not be optimal, but it’s miles better than not drinking and feeling worse. But that’s not an excuse to open a can of lager when there’s water in the tap!
‘If symptoms persist, consult your doctor’. Sometimes, electrolytes can become unbalanced, especially in periods of hot weather.