As we enter the warmer months and begin to enjoy outdoor activities, it's important to remember to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause a multitude of issues such as headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. However, it may surprise you to know that dehydration can also affect our muscles. In this blog, we will explore how dehydration can impact our muscles and what we can do to prevent it.
When we are dehydrated, the water that is necessary for proper cellular function is reduced, resulting in muscle fatigue. This means that muscles have to work harder to perform the same tasks, leading to an increased risk of muscle injury. In addition, dehydration can also cause muscle cramps. An imbalance in electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, can lead to these painful contractions. To prevent muscle cramps, it's important to consume a balanced electrolyte solution, especially when participating in prolonged or intense physical activity like running, hiking, biking, or swimming.
As the muscles work harder during dehydration, they begin to generate more heat, which results in an increased body temperature. A rise in body temperature during exercise is normal; however, it can be dangerous if dehydration is present. Lack of water in the body can cause difficulty in regulating the body temperature, leading to hyperthermia which can negatively impact our body's function. Which is why drinking water before, during and after physical activities is important.
Additionally, dehydration can also lead to muscle strains. Strains are essentially muscle tears and can occur when the muscles have been overworked or stressed. This type of injury can take significant time to heal and can cause long term function loss. Dehydration can impact the healing process by reducing blood flow to the muscles, which can slow the healing process.
Dehydration is a serious issue that can negatively affect our muscles and overall health. It's important to remember to drink water before, during, and after physical activity and replenish lost electrolytes in order to prevent dehydration. This simple step can not only prevent muscle fatigue, cramps, strains, and even hyperthermia but it can also keep our muscles functioning at their best. If you are experiencing any muscle pain that may be related to dehydration or if you are unsure how to properly hydrate yourself before exercise, consulting a physical therapist in Winter Park, FL like B Physical Therapy can help. Our team of professionals can create personalized workouts, nutrition plans and advise on staying healthy and hydrated. Contact us today to schedule an appointment so you can stay safe and healthy while enjoying your summer activities!