You may know about hydration and how important it is, but to gain a better understanding you must know about dehydration and its causes. Dehydration results in your body not having enough water to maintain proper electrolyte balance, and perform the tasks of a normal metabolism. On average people who do not pay attention to their hydration needs can be up to approximately 2% dehydrated. 2% might not seem like that much, but anything above that you are at a significantly higher risk of having health problems. Being dehydrated will also decrease the performance of your brain, bodily functions, and physical activity.
Exercise, diuretics, and nutrition also effect the rate of dehydration. Exercise causes us to sweat and breath heavier than normal. Sweat is a pretty obvious sign of water being lost, but with every breath we take we lose some H2O. Breathe on your palm if you don’t believe it. Each night as you sleep and breathe you can lose up to 16 oz of water. Have a glass of water in the morning, and if you drink coffee have a few more glasses.
Diuretics include caffeine, alcohol, and diuretic medications. These substances cause more filtration at the kidneys resulting in more water being removed from your circulatory system. If you consume any of these be sure to drink extra water to account for the loss.
Foods contain small amounts of water in them which may help with hydration, but on the other hand some foods require more water for digestion. Fruits and vegetables contain a good amount of water and electrolytes. Diets high in protein require more water to aid in digestion, and too much without proper hydration can stress the kidneys. Creatine is a substance that loves to be surrounded by water inside of the muscles. If you take creatine you must be aware that as your body accepts the creatine from your blood into the muscle, it is also taking water with it. A lack of blood volume will make your heart work harder and less efficiently, and can alter your blood pressure and in some cases cause dizziness, and fainting.
Dehydration is a serious issue, and can be fatal. Proper hydration is the easiest way to enhance your body’s performance. Focus on hydrating properly, and recognize the contributors to dehydration. Going to the bathroom more frequently is a sign that your body’s filtration system is working well, and is a minor trade-off for better health. See our hydration blog for more tips.