Before you get cozy with your computer to read this article, grab a glass of water.
Did you take a sip? Good. Water is an essential and vital nutrient for the human body – falling second only to oxygen. It’s so important that our bodies have been carefully designed with signals like “thirst” so we maintain the necessary water levels. Thank god for our biological intelligence.
Unfortunately the busy lifestyle we’ve designed have outsmarted the body’s intelligence. Even with these subconscious thirst triggers people still forget to drink water. An estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated failing to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day.
Considering 60-70% of our body is made up of water (lungs 90%, brain 70%, blood 80%) dehydration affects your entire body – let alone the performance of your WOD.
Are You Reaching For The Water Yet?
Good. Water plays a vital role in nearly all bodily functions – digestion, circulation, nutrient absorption, elimination of waste and toxins, temperature regulation, chemical reactions, hormonal balance, and more. On the surface adequate hydration leaves the skin moisturized and supple – reducing the signs of aging. Who knew that the fountain of youth was flowing right through our taps!
Just like we’re told to conserve water during a drought the same way the body begins to conserve water during dehydration.
Imagine rowing a boat in a river with low water levels. Chances are you’ll find yourself stuck and you will have to put your functional fitness to the test by pushing the boat. Similarly, inadequate water running through our blood, kidneys, lungs, and digestion can disrupt the flow and cause things to get a little stuck one that you can’t push yourself out of.
Low water levels also means higher concentrations of certain chemicals and minerals in our bodies, which result in imbalances slowing down or halting important cellular functions.
Did you take another sip of water? Great
How Much Water Is Enough To Keep Things Flowing?
We’ve all heard the rule of thumb – drink 8 glasses of water a day. It’s a general rule and a good starting point but from there it’s up to you to monitor and observe yourself and tweak your water intake as needed. You’ll quickly find that some days you need more water while other days less is plenty.
Unlike camels we cannot store water and are constantly losing water through sweat, urine, and respiration therefore constantly requiring replenishment. The sweat angel you created after Fran is a sign from above that you need to drink some water.
The key is to drink BEFORE you’re thirsty. Hydration is measured by blood concentration (e.g., the concentration of sodium in your blood) – the higher the concentration, the more dehydrated you are. By the time “thirst” is triggered (increase in concentration by 2%) you’re body is already encountering early staged dehydration and not functioning optimally.
You may also find yourself in search of food or thinking you’re hungry. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger making it even more important to stay hydrated.
Common Signs Of Dehydration
Some common signs of dehydration you should be aware of include:
- Mood changes
- Dry nasal passages
- Dry lips
- Dark colored urine (if you take b vitamins this won’t be an accurate indicator)
- Insatiable hunger
Tips To Stay Hydrated
- Drink 16oz of water first thing in the morning when you are most dehydrated
- Drink 8 glasses or 64oz of water a day (increase based on activity)
- Keep a stainless steel or glass bottle filled with water at your desk where you can see it. Having it there will increase your chances of drinking it.
- Drink water with every meal even if you’re having another beverage of choice
- Always drink water before, during, and after a workout
Go ahead and finish the rest of that water bottle and refill it. Challenge yourself to drink at least 8 glasses of water for 21 days. Post how you stay hydrated on instagram and twitter and tag your comments with #hydr8.
If you thought this article was helpful (and got you thirsty for some water), go ahead and share this with your friends, family or co-workers.
Photo courtesy of Alexander Witt
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