6 Reasons to Stay Hydrated
You've probably heard that staying hydrated is important, but why? Without water, the body can only survive a few days, because almost every body system depends on water!
Here are 6 reasons why staying hydrated is important!
1. Maintaining Physical Performance: During athletic activity, it is common to lose 6-10% of body weight in sweat loss, leading to dehydration unless replenished. Dehydrated athletes experience reduced endurance, increased fatigue, altered ability to thermoregulate (ie maintain proper body temperature), reduced motivation, and increased perceived effort (ie, the feeling that the task at hand feels harder than it typically would).
2. Maintaining Cognitive Performance: Dehydration can create mood changes and slow cognitive processes (ie thinking). Dehydration can also impair performance on short-term memory tasks, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking, and psychomotor skills.
3. Maintaining Gastrointestinal Function: Dehydration can lead to slowed movement through the GI tract, potentially resulting in constipation.
4. Maintaining proper Kidney Function: The kidneys play a vital role in maintaining your body's water balance, regulating blood pressure, and removing waste from the body. In order to perform these functions, they require sufficient water intake to function properly.
5. Preventing Dehydration Headaches: Dehydration can lead to the development of headache, and can even serve as a trigger for Migraine type headaches. This type of headache is the result of intracranial dehydration- but the good news is that by drinking water, this type of headache can be gone in as short as 30 minutes!
6. Maintain Healthy Skin: Our skin is made up of approximately 30% water, and dehydration can reduce skins elasticity and resiliency. Consuming appropriate amounts of water can improve skin hydration. Sadly, staying properly hydrated doesn't affect wrinkle formation or other signs of aging, but is still important!
So, how much water is sufficient? Children between the ages of 2-8 require approximately 1.5L of water/day, while adolescents aged 9-15 require approximately 2L of water per day, and adults require 2.5-3L of water per day. Keep in mind, food that you eat throughout the day contains some water in it (fruits and vegetables have highest levels). What is the best way to ensure proper hydration? Gradually increase your water intake slowly, and listen to your body! If your body tells you it's thirsty, have a cup of water!
References: Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x