Your (literal) Body of Water.

July 18, 2017 | Lifestyle, Summer, Wellness

Water’s Key Role in Your Good Health.

The human body is made up of approximately 70% water.  During an average day of basic activity, we lose 5-10%  of water through breathing, urinating, and sweat.  If you are exercising or if the outside temperature is high, you will lose more water.  If you’re not replenishing your water supply throughout the day, it can have a negative effect on your overall health.  Here are 4 ways in which not being properly hydrated may affect you:

1. Hydration And Mood

Dehydration can affect how we think.  It can make it difficult for us to process information clearly.  This cloudy feeling can affect our mood.  This effect is noticeable with just 1L of water missing from your system.  The more dehydrated you become, the worse your symptoms are.  With an approximate deficit of 4L, you will feel lethargic and most likely have a nasty headache.  Being slightly dehydrated may leave you feeling a little off, tired and grumpy.

2. Hydration And Sport Performance

Our hydration levels help regulate our blood pressure and body temperature.  These are all very important to keep us functioning normally but become even more important when placing our bodies under stress.  If you are dehydrated on a regular basis,  you may be putting yourself at risk for developing hypertension (high blood pressure).  When your body recognizes that it is dehydrated, your brain will send a signal to the pituitary gland to release the hormone vasopressin.  Vasopressin is an antidiuretic hormone which causes blood vessels to constrict.  This makes blood push harder against your artery walls which is the basic problem behind hypertension.  When we exercise, we are already making our hearts work harder.  Keeping hydrated will help with your endurance with your sport.

As we exercise, our body temperature will rise.  We have set regulatory systems in place which help to cool us back down.  When we are dehydrated, these systems tend not to work as well as they should, leading to excess strain being placed on our bodies.  This can negatively affect both our performance and our recovery.

3. Hydration And Headaches

As mentioned previously, dehydration can cause headaches.  Headaches related to dehydration can range from very mild in intensity to migraines.  Our brains shrink slightly when we are low on fluids and pull away from our skull.  This will result in pain that we feel like a headache.  Once our fluids are replenished, our brain plumps back up, the pulling eliminated and the pain will dissipate.  For some, being just mildly dehydrated will lead to a headache while other people will not experience the same intensity of symptoms with the same amount of water deficit.  

4. Hydration And Hunger

The feeling of thirst occurs when our body recognizes that we are in need of water.  Sometimes, we will mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger.  Symptoms of being hungry and being thirsty can overlap; sluggish, tired, lack of focus, light-headedness.  If you’ve eaten recently and are still feeling a little peckish, drink some water before going back to the cupboard.  You may just be slightly dehydrated.   

How Much Water Should You Drink?

This seems like a simple question, but there is no simple answer.  Depending on what reference you look at, the amount may vary.  The amount of water needed will also vary depending on your activity level and on the environmental temperature.  The standard rule of consumption for the average adult is eight, 8oz glasses of water per day.  This is just under 2L.  This is pretty easy to remember and follow.  Other formulas take your body weight into consideration.  For example, you should drink half of your body weight in ounces.  So if you weigh 160lbs, you should drink 80 oz of water per day.  Slightly higher than the standard eight, 8oz glasses typically recommended.  Remembering that you will take in some water in the form of food if you follow the standard rule of how much water to drink, you should be in the ballpark of what you need.  

Remember, water is important to many of the bodies functions.  Keep yourself hydrated.  Your body will thank you!

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