Have you ever been having a really fun day with your kids and slowly they get grumpy and dazed. You tell yourself they must be hungry or tired, so you feed them, get them to drink something and it doesn’t help. It could be because they are low on electrolytes. Those pesky little salts that help control their water balance, energy, and concentration.
It’s easy to forget about hydration and replenishing those electrolytes when you are out having fun. Whether it’s in a hot environment or cold environment you may think your fatigue is caused by all the energy you are using but it could be as simple as electrolyte loss through sweating. Here are the top 5 times that you are losing electrolytes and need to replenish them with some added water.
At the Pool, Beach, Waterpark. It sounds ironic to think you are dehydrated when you are surrounded by water, but this is a great place to lose electrolytes through sweating and not notice. Kids and adults playing in a pool or the ocean, are working hard to have fun. If it’s under a hot sun fatigue can set in quickly. Remember your body is good at keeping water out via your skin, not absorbing it. Which means to keep having the time of your life proper water intake is a must. The best suggestion is to have an low sugar electrolyte drink or water readily handy to take sips on through out the day. That cold ice cream or popsicle may feel great going down but it’s not doing the whole job in replenishing what you need.
- What? Yes Skiing. Bundled up in a lot of clothes to protect yourself from the cold and then doing something athletic is a great way to sweat and raise your internal body temperature without noticing how hard you are working. Those leg muscles which make up some of the largest in the body are using your energy stores and water quickly to keep you headed down the slope. Diehard skiers bring backpacks with them so they don’t have to take a long lunch break, thus naturally snacking all day on chairlifts and gondolas, keeping their energy levels up with food and hydration. However, most people ski and then break for lunch and often feel a little tired in the afternoon. This tiredness is in part due to loss of electrolytes and water to help the body maintain its competitive edge. If you grab a coffee or a hot chocolate for lunch don’t forget to follow it up with some water or juice to re-balance those legs out. Your afternoon ski session will be much better if you do.
Traveling. What better way to have summer fun than getting into a car for a road trip or taking a plane to see relatives, or just to get away from it all. Well it’s also a great way to dry your system out if you aren’t keeping up with your water. We’ve all felt it, that fuzzy haze in our heads that sets in from being on a plane or stuffed in a car all day. Just because your body isn’t moving doesn’t mean you aren’t burning calories or losing electrolytes. The circulating air from an air conditioner or heater is pulling moisture out of your body. Add the stress that some people feel when traveling and your body is working hard at doing nothing. Add a couple coffee’s to stay awake behind the wheel and your next bathroom break will leave you with less and less electrolytes to keep your concentration up. Wherever you are headed for this summers fun, or just traveling throughout the year, make sure you keep up with hydration and your trip will be a smoother one.
- Amusement Parks. Your family is running around from one line to the next. From one attraction to the other, screaming in fun and fear at the drops. The food choices are never perfect at these venues but it’s all part of the ambiance and experience. 2 o’clock in the afternoon hits and your legs and arms become tired just standing in line waiting for the next thrill. You had a good size lunch of corndog, chips, and a big soft drink so you think you would have energy to spare right now. But all that sugar and hard to digest food is pulling energy from you. Your mind and body need water and electrolytes to keep functioning properly. Cut the sugary drinks in half or quarters with some water and you will be surprised at how much better you feel in the afternoon. Juice boxes are a great choice for kids and also a better choice than the sugar high soft drinks. If you want to win that prize for your girlfriend or child you body will perform better at complex tasks if its properly hydrated. The connection from your sharp mind to your fingertips is optimized for performance if it has enough water and electrolytes to trigger the precise reactions to throw that ring around the bottle neck. Drink properly and you will leave with more than an empty wallet.
- Coffee Dates. Whether a friend of yours is in town and you are catching up, or your mommy group is meeting for some gossip, the unassuming coffee date is a sure fire way to dehydrate. Coffee is a well documented dehydrator and along with every bathroom break it makes you take you lose electrolytes. Office oriented individuals that use coffee to reenergize four times a day are most likely chronically dehydrated which results in fatigue, loss of concentration, and a need to go get more coffee to stay awake. This cycle is quite normal. Break the cycle and drink some water or juice at lunch and those afternoon lulls may come less and less.
So as you can see, some of the everyday activities we and our children do, can unknowingly leave us feeling dehydrated and not quite ourselves. Be sure to keep hydration in mind as you enjoy whatever activities you like to do with your family!