Busting myths about dehydration

June 27, 2013

Staying hydrated is an important part of any fitness routine. When you hop on your home treadmill and start running, you want to know that your body will have the energy to help you meet your fitness goals. While features like TRUE HRC Cruise Controlâ„¢ – available on all TRUE Fitness treadmills – can help you keep your heart rate up, staying hydrated is all up to you. To put you on the right path, we’re busting some dangerous dehydration myths:

Myth: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated
Fact: Just because you’re thirsty does not mean you’ve already crossed the line over to dehydration – there’s still time to remedy the situation! Thirst can result from any number of factors, such as being outside on a hot day or eating a heavy meal. Thirst is your body’s way of telling you it’s time to drink water, so if you reach for a tall glass each time you feel a bit thirsty, you’re pretty much guaranteed to stay hydrated.

Myth: You should drink as much water as possible before a race
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to drink too much water, particularly if you’re running a race. Water intoxication is a serious condition that’s caused by sweating excessively over several hours while drinking too much water and not eating or urinating. On race day, it’s best to only drink when thirsty and stick to sports beverages so you can adequately replace the sodium you lose through sweating.

Myth: Dehydration is just uncomfortable, not dangerous
Fact: While dehydration is certainly unpleasant, it can also be incredibly dangerous when it gets out of hand. You can nip the problem in the bud by quickly drinking water when you experience mild dehydration symptoms like headaches or sluggishness. If your symptoms worsen, the condition may be serious, and you should see a doctor immediately.

Myth: Coffee and tea will dehydrate you
Fact: While it’s true that caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it increases the amount of water excreted from your body, you actually retain most of the water in caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea. That’s not to say that you should down a cup of coffee before running a race, but it’s OK to keep it in your day-to-day routine. Alcohol, however, can cause you to excrete much more water than you consume, so you should be particularly careful of dehydration when drinking it. Try alternating each glass of wine or beer with a glass of water the next time you go out.