We have all experienced it at some point while working hard: fatigue sets in, your mouth feels dry, your legs are heavy and you may even get a headache. These are all common signs of dehydration. When you are working hard, body fluid is lost through sweat. If the fluid lost through sweating is not replaced, dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable. Losing even 2% of body fluids (less than 3.5 pounds in a 180-pound person) can impair performance by increasing fatigue and affecting cognitive skills. During the summer, it is easy to become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough fluids to replace what is lost in sweat.
Toolbox Talking Points
When to drink: Ensure you drink before you start working, trying to catch up for lost fluids after a period of time is very difficult. Also, drink before you get thirsty. By the time you’re thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink at regular intervals – especially when it is hot outside.
• What to drink: Water is truly the best way to maintain proper hydration. Research also shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in performance drinks like Sqwincher provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
• What not to drink: During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content such as soda, energy drinks, and even fruit juices. These are slow to absorb into the body and some can be diuretic. Also, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.
Many people ask how much to drink and that truly depends on your activity level and how much your body is losing fluids. In general, when you are working and sweating, you should drink at least every half-hour. Ensure you are drinking enough to replace your lost fluids. A good rule of thumb from a wise man says: “if you aren’t urinating, you’re not drinking enough”.