Dehydration or hypohydration refers to the loss of water within the body. It can occur at any time, within any sport and should be avoided as it can cause further complications within the body. It is caused by a prolonged physical activity, among other things, where water has not been consumed at an adequate level.
Although in the water, swimming is a strenuous sport that can induce dehydration – especially when one is swimming for long periods of time. It is important to keep hydrated to maintain endurance, health and balance through the body while partaking in the sport. Here are some ways that can help to prevent dehydration while swimming.
It is important to know the symptoms of dehydration – and check for these symptoms regularly should you be immersed in the water for extended periods of time. These symptoms are the increased urge to urinate, a dry mouth, or swollen tongue – and weakness, dizziness and fatigue. Although there is an increased urge to urinate, there may be little urination that actually occurs. When one is dehydrated, the urine is often stronger in color when one is suffering from dehydration.
The first way that we can prevent dehydration while swimming is to ensure that proper amounts of water are being consumed. Breaks should be taken every fifteen to twenty minutes to consume at least eight ounces of water, or another beverage – a healthy beverage. Drinking water from the pool, lake or ocean should be avoided as these water sources can contain salt, chemicals and bacteria that can induce further dehydration. Just because we are in the water, does not mean we have to stop drinking water. Swimming is exercise, and with any exercise we are losing moisture from the body – and it is important to replenish this moisture.
They say that swimmers are more prone to dehydration because it causes high levels of exertion in the body, but swimmers do not feel the urge to drink because they are immersed within the water and therefore the brain is not aware of the need for water, and other liquids. To prevent this, take specified breaks from the exercise to drink water, and ensure that at least a half gallon of water is being consumed each day – to prevent these swimming dehydration risks.
When treating dehydration at home, it is important to replenish the liquid that has been lost from the body – but not too quickly, as this can cause uncomfortable feelings within the stomach. Using ice chips or sports drinks high in electrolytes will help replenish and rejuvenate the system that has suffered from dehydration.
With the combination of heat and humidity, and water – your body is more than likely losing water while swimming. This combined with the perspiration, and high heart rate is combinations that can create dehydration. Be sure to keep hydrated while participating in swim meets, especially children – and especially at an outdoor pool in high temperatures.
Dehydration is a dangerous illness that causes severe electrolyte imbalance. The treatment for severe dehydration is intravenous fluids – therefore, medical attention should be sought for any child or adult suffering from prolonged dehydration, as to avoid any damage to the body.