Last Sunday afternoon, I went for a run. It was 29 degrees outside, and I really struggled to finish my 5ks (okay, full disclosure, I stopped at four). When I got home, I accidentally-on-purpose joined my housemates in a glass of wine instead of a bottle of water.
I spent the rest of the day with a pounding headache. So I did what any reasonable person would do: Googled my symptoms and terrified myself. But I’m very rational, so it only took me a few short hours of my life flashing before my eyes to decide to re-check my symptoms. Good news! I wasn’t dying. I was just dehydrated. Really, painfully dehydrated.
Dehydration is what happens when you sweat out more liquid than you take in. Heat exposure and over-exercising are two of the most common causes of dehydration, so dehydration is a big issue if you’re planning on pursuing that bikini body through the summer months. It can manifest in weakness, dizziness, extreme thirst or what’s commonly known as a ‘dehydration headache’. Luckily, it’s not terminal. But there are some things you need to do if you suspect you’re dehydrated.
1. Stop moving
If you’re already dehydrated, the last thing you want to do is keeping losing liquid and electrolytes through sweat. Stop what you’re doing, sit down in the shade – or better yet, the aircon – and take some time out. The last-minute Christmas shopping can wait. The shops are open on Christmas Eve for a reason.
2. Drink water – but not too much at once
It might seem self-explanatory to drink water if you’re dehydrated, but guzzling as much water as possible in one go is not the best solution. Your body can only absorb a small amount of water at once, so aim for one glass of water (250 mL) every 15 to 20 minutes until the symptoms subside.