Living Well

About Dehydration From Exercise and Summer Activities

Last updated: Aug 13, 2012


What is dehydration?

When you don’t drink enough fluids on hot, summer New Jersey days, you can quickly become dehydrated.

When you are dehyrated, you have too little fluid for your body to properly:

  • Regulate your temperature
  • Lubricate your joints
  • Dissolve and carry minerals, nutrients, and oxygen to cells
  • Keep your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and throat moist
  • Protect and promote organ and tissue function
  • Help eliminate waste products and promote kidney and bowel function

In addition to losing water when you exercise and sweat, you lose body fluids each time you breathe, perspire, and go to the bathroom. For this reason, your New Jersey medical doctor recommends drinking plenty of water and water-based beverages, especially during the warm months when you exercise or participate in outdoor activities in New Jersey.

Mild and severe dehydration can cause 1 or more symptoms, including:

  • Mild and excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Chills
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark yellow urine

Who is at risk for dehydration?

Anyone can become dehydrated without enough fluids; but young children and older people can become dehydrated even more quickly than most adults.

How much water is enough to stay hydrated?

  • Men should drink approximately 3 liters (about 13 cups) of noncaffeinated and nonalcoholic beverages per day*
  • Women should drink approximately 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of noncaffeinated and nonalcoholic beverages per day*

Men and women who are active should drink more than average recommendations, especially if they are outdoors on warm days.

*Caffeine and alcohol remove fluid from your body; for this reason, it’s important to avoid caffeine and alcohol to prevent getting dehydrated.

When You Become Dehydrated

The best way to avoid becoming dehydrated is to drink plenty of water-based fluids throughout your day. If you participate in activities that make you sweat, you also should replace the salts, potassium, and other substances such as electrolytes that are essential to proper body function. Water and water-based drinks such as Gatorade and Propel can restore the liquid and minerals as well as the electrolytes you need to stay healthy.

It’s best to avoid sugar-based, high-calorie drinks such as soda and fruit juice that can quickly raise blood sugar, prevent your kidneys from reabsorbing necessary water, cause you to urinate more, and promote dehydration.