WHAT IS HYDRATION?
The medical definition of hydration is:
“The act or process of combining or treating with water as either the introduction of additional fluid to the body” and “the quality or state of being hydrated”
Water is an essential factor of life for the vast majority of all living organisms, the human body is made up of 70 percent water, and it is necessary to conduct most chemical reactions within the body. Water makes up a large volume of all bodily fluids. It is also used in the digestive system to break down nutrients and retrieve them from food- with these facts in mind we can infer that keeping up good levels of hydration is essential for maintaining a decent quality of life.
An Electrolyte is a gel or liquid that contains ions that can be decomposed via electrolysis (conducts electricity when dissolved in water). They regulate muscle and nerve function; they hydrate the body and help repair damaged tissue.
Find more on Electrolytes and their uses for supplementation and their importance here
HYDRATION EFFECTS ON THE BODY
Staying hydrated is the best hassle-free way of optimizing your physical and mental performance, when hydrated your body is able to optimize its use of chemical reactions, bodily functions, and energy stores. Here are just some of the amazing things your body can perform to the highest degree when hydrated.
Good hydration means good temperature regulation- when we overheat, our bodies produce sweat which ultimately keeps us cool- without fluid in the body and a proficient level of hydration- our internal temperature can quickly climb up which can be incredibly dangerous.
Staying hydrated can reduce hunger levels as when the stomach senses that it is full it sends signals to the brain to stop eating. Water takes up space in the stomach and can essentially create a feeling of fullness and can prevent unnecessary snacking.
Water promotes vasodilation (dilation of blood cells decreasing blood pressure) in the Kidneys, allowing blood to flow freely and deliver the nutrients it needs to the rest of the body.
You can find out more about Hydration and its positive health Here
DEHYDRATION EFFECTS ON THE BODY
Did you know that as little as 1 percent dehydration can affect physical performance by as much as 5 percent! It is a well-known fact that dehydration increases cardiovascular and thermal strain, glycogen utilization (ultimately using up valuable energy stores) and promotes muscle fatigue.
Dehydration is one of the most overlooked yet mostly common reasons for daytime fatigue, when dehydrated your body uses extra resources and energy stores, leaving you feeling prematurely tired and run down.
Water is essential for your digestive system, without maintaining a satisfactory level of hydration your bowels become stressed- causing constipation- in extreme cases this can cause waste to be filled with harmful toxins and bacteria which will make its way into the bloodstream.
If you are prone to regular headaches, it may be down to not drinking enough water as observational studies have shown that when deprived of water, your concentration can be impaired along with increased irritability and migraines.
You can study more on dehydration With Study.com's Mini lesson on dehydration
WAYS TO STAY HYDRATED
When undergoing physical strain such as training it is recommended that men drink 3-4L of water and women drink 2-3L of water daily in order to make the most out of your bodily functions and reactions- this can be a lot for some people who are not conscious about their water intake- we have put together a list of effective methods to keep your hydration levels up:
- Eat Fresh Fruit and Vegetables daily- it is often overlooked that fruits and vegetables are brilliant sources of water and electrolytes- Some of the most water rich fruits and vegetables include:
- Buy a reusable water bottle, probably one of the more obvious options. A reusable water bottle is portable and allows for you to be able to drink on the go- Especially in more recent times, there are many distinctive styles and sizes of water bottle available for each hydration goal.
- Drink a large amount as soon as you wake up, this is vital as after 7-8 hours of sleeping your body is likely to be dehydrated- by drinking water first thing in the morning you're giving your body the best chance of performing at its best all day
- Drinking Hot drinks such as tea and coffee- These beverages contain caffeine, which is dehydrating in excess however, caffeine only becomes dehydrating in quantities of about 250-300mg- drinking tea and coffee in moderation can be just as hydrating as drinking water
Find more innovative ways of staying hydrated with Healthline's ingenious List