Most of the time we think of dehydration as what happens when we are out in super high temperatures like in the desert and haven’t had any water allllll day and are about to get sick or collapse. When in fact we made be experiencing dehydration before we can even feel it. Not providing your body with enough water with wreck havoc on your health AND get in the way of any fitness, health, or weight loss goals you may have. Let’s take a little bit of a further look into this…
Hopefully it isn’t news to anyone that water is SUPER important to the optimal functioning of our bodies. We can not survive without water. I mean, come on, our bodies are made up mostly of water. But did you know that feeling thirsty means your body is already becoming dehydrated?
Water is essential to your health and wellness is innumerable ways. However, I want to just touch upon some of the most prominent. Starting with your daily functioning…
Water is the single most vital source of energy that our body gets. Our bodies can only run the way they do if we have an adequate supply of H2O. Considering our brains are 75% water, to avoid feeling fatigued, tired, and unable to focus and thrive throughout the day, make sure you are waking up and drinking some water. Many people wake up and reach right for the pot of coffee without a single drop of water touching their lips. Now, I have to admit I am a coffee fiend myself and talking to me in the morning before I have a cup in my hand is probably a bad idea haha, BUT when I wake up the first thing I do is sit up and gulp down some of the water I keep next to my bed throughout the night. Your body needs to kick start it’s enzymatic activity and allow yourself to wake up and be fed before you start adding other substances that are stressful on your body and brain.
Next matter of business is any health, fitness, and especially weight loss goals you may have. Leaving your body, thirsting for water is the worst thing you can do when you are trying to lose weight. In fact, drinking cold water has been proven to increase metabolism. waaahhoo Dehydration can lead to weight gain and therefore undo any progress you are trying to make. Whenever your body feels as if it is going to be deprived or without something it will try to desperately cling on to any resources it is getting; which is also why not eating has adverse effects when trying to lose weight. Research has shown that drinking a glass or two of water before each meal that you consumer helps you to have better portion control and curb cravings. Many times we think our body is hungry when really it is just trying to signal to us that it is thirsty and in serious need of some good old fashioned water. So when you hydrate well and provide it will its most natural and vital source for survival, you are able to eat only what you actually need rather than filling up more than your body needs in a false sense of need. In fact, one study showed that people who increased their daily water intake by 1.5 liters were able to burn an extra 17,400 calories (which equates to approximately 5 lbs).
Now if you are extremely active and aren’t worried about weight loss so much as you are about your fitness goals, well you aren’t in the clear. Dehydration is one of the many sources of injury. The cartilage in your joints is made up so much of water that it relies on that for it’s proper function. For those of us who are extremely active, and especially doing activity that is taxing on our joints – i.e. running, aerobics, weightlifting, plyometric movements, gymnastics, etc., we need to hydrate properly in order to ensure our joints will recover. Dehydration leads to weakened cartilage in our joints which means after a hard workout our joint repair is slowed. This lends itself to pain, stiffness, discomfort, and injury.
Regardless of what your fitness level is or your goals are, one thing we all have in common is a desire for overall health and wellness. Being healthy means having your body in its entirety function the way it was meant to. It means that you get and the necessary nutrients, the vitamins and minerals, to be well. Dehydration can cause and/or worsen a variety of digestive disorders, problems with vital organs such as your kidney and bladder, constipation, reactions to the environment (including asthma and allergies), high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
The general recommended amount of water intake a day is 8 – 8 Oz glasses. Of course this changes based on personal levels of health and activity levels (aka drink more if you are a gym rat or on certain diet and food regimes). Now you don’t need to drink a pool every day so don’t go overboard but do make sure you are getting an appropriate amount of H2O for your body and your goals… If this is something you continuously struggle with, maybe look into downloading one of the many amazing water recording apps. I currently use “Water Your Body” for Android… And remember drink before you snack! Stay thirsty my friends 😉