Dehydration [en]

Last night, I came home from a pretty intensive judo training hardly feeling thirsty at all. (As I am pretty out of shape, it doesn’t take much to make training “intensive”.) I remember that pre-India, I used to rush for the tap at the end of my judo classes — when I was on to thirsty to wait for the end of the class.

My experiences with dehydration in India taught me a couple of things. I think the revelation came to me when recovering from my sickness after the vedic sacrifice.

First of all, I learnt to recognise the signs of mild dehydration (aside from fainting in airports, of course). As far as I’m concerned, a sure sign that I am starting to be dehydrated is when I feel thirsty, drink until I am not thirsty anymore, and feel thirsty again ten minutes later.

The corollary of this remarkable observation is that you build up your “water capital” over the space of days, not hours. This means that if you know that you are going to dehydrate yourself a bit (for example by sweating on judo mats) it is no use to make sure you drink “enough” a couple of hours before you start. You need to drink “enough” during the previous couple of days. I’m not teaching anything to those of you will run marathons.

I am aware there is nothing revolutionary at all in noticing this. It is pretty simple and straightforward. I am actually amazed that it has not always been obvious to me. I wonder at the fact that I didn’t understand why judo classes sometimes made me thirsty, and sometimes not. Now I know.

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