4 Signs You’re Really Dehydrated During a Workout

Dehydration can hit suddenly. The feeling of dizziness, fatigue and sore muscles are all telling signs. According to Medic Daily, more than 75% of all Americans are dehydrated at this very moment. It’s very easy to become hydrated in the Phoenix sun, especially during the summer months.

dehydrated man outside in Phoenix

It only takes about 10 minutes out in the sun to become dehydrated when it’s above 90 degrees. It can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded and fatigue which can affect your thought process and train of thought.

It can get scary if you don’t have immediate access to water nearby. If you are out on the trails, it’s important to keep in the shade when possible and out of direct sunlight.

The fact is you don’t have to be pushing hard or going long to succumb to dehydration.

“It’s normal to experience mild dehydration during exercise,” says Rob Pickels, physiology director at CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center in Boulder, Colorado—especially if you’re in the heat and sweating.

“However, prolonged moderate dehydration or severe dehydration can be detrimental to your health; especially your kidney function,” he says.

When you feel thirsty, you’re actually already dehydrated. There are some less obvious signs that you are on your way to becoming severely dehydrated. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

A faster heart rate can be a sign of dehydration

As your heart rate goes up with intensity or long exposure to the heat, your heart beats about 15 to 20 higher than normal. As you become dehydrated, your heat is compensating for reduced blood volume by beating faster. Your heat rate can tell a lot about your body so always be sure to monitor it or wear a tracker to check as you are outside.

When you feel dizzy that can be a sign of dehydration

Have you ever felt dizzy after working out or being out in the heat? It’s called postural hypotension and is a result of blood not reaching your head quickly enough as you change positions, due to low blood volume.

If you start feeling like this, it’s important to lay down for a moment and drink some water. It can be a sign of severe dehydration.

Believe it or not saggy skin is a sign of dehydration.

When the skin on the back of your hand doesn’t snap back after being pinched, is a tell sign that you need to drink more fluids. The more proper name is decreased skin turgor.

Pickel says, “With normal hydration, the skin should return back to normal essentially immediately.”

If you have been exposed to high temperatures it may take awhile for the skin to return after pinching it.

pinching dehydrated skin

If your urine smells, it’s probably a sign of dehydration.

Going to the bathroom is a good sign that you are somewhat dehydrated. However, if it’s really yellow and has a strong odor, that’s a bad sign. This is the easiest way to tell your dehydrated and is a sign you need to drink more water.

Of course, it’s still good that you have to pee at this point, since once you hit severe dehydration, urine production decreases dramatically. Avoid that stage altogether, by boosting your fluid intake right away.