It’s time to talk about water. The weather is getting hotter, your body is getting sweaty, and now more than ever is it important to get the adequate amount.
But how much is the adequate amount?
How can you tell if you’re drinking the right amount?
And what happens when you don’t drink enough?
Then keep reading! Because you’ll definitely find something you didn’t know here.
- What it looks like
- How bad it is for your body and brain
- How much is enough
- Ensuring proper absorption
So grab a glass of water, dip your paw in it, then bring it up to your face
That’s step 1 😉
The Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:
Let’s start off with what Dehydration looks and feels like, chances are you’re experiencing 1 or 2 of these symptoms as you read this:
(Chart from Mercola.com)
The thing to note from that chart is sleepiness, headaches, and no tears. Sleepiness occurs because your heart is working harder. The majority of your blood is water, and without enough your blood becomes thicker. This makes the heart have to work much harder to pump blood through you body which results in that sleepy, fatigue like feeling.
Headaches occur because your brain tissue loses water when you’re dehydrated. This causes your brain to shrink and pull away from your skull. This activates pain receptors in the dura (the sheath around your brain). Plus you also have less oxygen going to the brain from the decreased blood volume.
Now I only had you note the no tears part because I think it’s kind of a funny side effect. I always picture someone crying because they’re dehydrated, but no tears come out.
I’m just… I’m just so thirsty
The Perils of Dehydration:
Alright so we now know two: tiredness and headaches, how else is the body affected?
Well for one thing, a 1-2% loss of water in your body, makes you stupid.
It’s true, this amount of dehydration equates to about 1½-3 lbs of body weight loss for a 150 lb person, which could occur through routine daily activities. This decrease in cognition is associated with less attentiveness, and impaired short term memory. It can also be affiliated with negative changes in mood like vigor, alertness, fatigue, calmness, confusion, and happiness.
Exercise wise, the average human body is composed of 45-75% water. (It’s not just that average 80% everyone tends to throw out, we’re all different, and we’re all composed of different levels of water). Muscle mass is 70-75% water. Most of us work out in the afternoon after work, and by this time we’re already probably mildly dehydrated just from our daily activities. What do you think happens to dehydrated muscles?
Randy Savage shows up and snaps into them like a slim jim
Well kinda, water is used in muscles to promote tissue glide. Muscle is bound in fascia, and works by gliding against each other to move and maintain tension. Without water, our muscles do not glide as well, and are more prone to adhesions and injuries.
Water also carries nutrients to our cells, without enough water our muscle tissue isn’t getting adequate amounts of oxygen, protein, biochemical mediators, etc. Without proper nutritional support, those gains you’re working for are being wasted.
Yeesh dehydration kinda sucks
So grab your glass and take another lick, now that I’ve hopefully scared you ever so slightly, it’s time to learn about proper hydration.
So how much is enough water? Remember that everyone is different, we all fall between having 45-75% of our weight as water. We all have different water requirements. Here’s what the Institute of Medicine recommends:
Remember that these are based on averages, and do not account for working out. They say that you need to additionally drink 8 oz or about 200 ml for every 15 minutes you work out.
I’m not the hugest fan of counting ml’s and oz’s, if that’s your jag or you need help with it, there are plenty of water tracking apps you can put on your phone. I think that it adds a little more stress, and can be unnecessary. If you have proper body awareness, which is the aim of this article, then you can do a good job of tracking how much water you need through how you feel, your thirst, and…
Pee! (please don’t drink it though)
The general rule of pee and hydration: lemonade is normal, apple juice is bad.
Here’s a handy chart, beware of that purple pee though :p
When working out, this formula tends to work pretty well:
- One to two hours before your workout, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water (400-600 ml)
- 15 minutes before you begin, drink between 8 and 10 ounces of water (200-300 ml)
- During your workout, drink another 8 ounces every 15 minutes. (200 ml)
And if you’re sweating a bunch, obviously drink more!
I used to have one of those water tracking apps, and I usually did a good job of going above and beyond what my requirement was. One day I saw an Acupuncturist, and after looking at my tongue she said I was pretty dehydrated. I scoffed and showed her my app to prove I was drinking water, and she retorted with:
“sure you may be drinking enough, but you may not be absorbing it all”
Yup, just because you’re drinking water, doesn’t mean your body is actually taking it all in and using it.
You have to make sure you have an adequate amount of mediators to help get water into your cells. Sodium, glucose, and amino acids are all important for how well your body absorbs water. High sodium concentrations in the cell encourage water to pass through the membrane, via the process of osmosis. Water and glucose are also co-transported into a cell when specific amino acids open up channels in the cellular membrane. (more on this biochemistry stuff here)
An easy fix: Electrolyte tablets (I use Nuun) that you can put in your water tend to help your body absorb it.
You also can eat your water.
In addition to watermelon and cucumber, the following fruits and vegetables all contain over 90 percent water content: cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli,cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, sweet peppers, radishes, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes
There you have it, it’s not enough just to drink water by itself, you need to eat it or supplement to ensure it gets into your cells.
Now I’m hungry for watermelon
The Watery End
With that splash of information you just gave your brain, I hope now you see the brevity of dehydration. It’s a pretty serious condition and they estimate that 9 in 10 people have it.
You can be that 1 who is motivated to stay hydrated because you know that without water:
- You get tired and headaches
- You can get stupid
- You’re much more prone to injury and workout inefficiency
I hope you enjoyed the H20 info!