I want you to picture the daily tidbits of your normal routine MORPHING into intricate labyrinths of murkiness and confusion. Then, please ADD a headache that causes one eye to twitch and you hair to hurt. For the finale, SWIRL in the attention span of a toddler after nap time…with a hangover…after working a 12 hour shift… and the winner is…!?? MILD DEHYDRATION. Enjoy!
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition
found that mild dehydration (~1% loss of body weight) in healthy subjects caused:
-Increase in perceived task difficulty
-Increase in headache severity
-Increase in tiredness
-Decrease in ability to concentrate
-Decrease in alertness
There was one week at work where I didn’t take my water bottle out of my bag for two eight-hour shifts. By the third day, I was having flu like symptoms. I slept terrible, I felt nauseous and weak. It was hard to focus on one thing. I was clammy. I felt horrible. I came into work on the 3rd day and thought “That’s it! I’m downing my entire 32 oz. water bottle STAT!” I drank three of those water bottles that day. I laid off the coffee and tea. I started to feel more alert by that afternoon. I needed water! My body was sending me a strong message that felt similar to a punch in the face. I like water. I just constantly have to tell myself that I need to drink it! It’s refreshing and easy to drink but I forget about it during my work day. (Sometimes, though, I don’t bond with my water bottle: the nozzle is complicated, the water is extra cold, it’s too much water I can’t possibly drink all of it…) On a regular work day I drink sips, but some days it goes untouched because there are more pressing issues at hand! (Like what? No idea! Drinking water is a complicated process, right?)During my workouts, however, rest periods make convenient water drinking sessions. It is an issue and I make a conscious effort to drink certain amount of water by specific times each day. I even set calendar reminders for myself!
-Water makes up between 45-70% of a person’s body weight. That means that a 150 lb. person could potentially be made up of 105 lbs. of water!
-Muscle tissue is approximately 75% H2O. Fat tissue is made up of about 20% water. (dehydration means thirsty muscles)
-American Council on Exercise recommends 91 oz. of water per day for female athletes and 125 oz. per day for males.
-The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states that dehydration resulting in a loss as little as 1% of body weight will affect performance. Clinical dehydration starts at a 3% loss in body weight during an exercise session or series of exercise sessions (two-a-day preseason training). This means that if a 150lb. person loses 3% of their body weight during an exercise session, they’ve lost 6 necessary pounds of hydration.
-General joint pain, excessive soreness after a workout, and feeling tired are super common complaints that could be the result of dehydration.
Effects of Dehydration:
-Increase in body temperature.
-Increase risk of heat illness or heat stroke.
-Physical and mental exhaustion.
-Decrease in cardiac output. (During exercise it should increase based on an increase in stroke volume, the amount of blood pushed out in each heart beat, and the heart rate)
-Increased resting heart rate.
-Decrease in urination and urine production.
-Prolonged muscle soreness. (ahhhhhh!)
10 Dehydration Prevention Tips:
1. Water is the ideal fluid replacement.
This does depend on duration and intensity of activity, temperature of the environment and the individual.
2. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Once your thirsty you are already at least mildly dehydrated.
3. Divide you body weight by 2 = daily water intake in ounces. I weigh about 145. Divide that by 2=72.5 oz. of water. Now take into account activity. Replace what was lost. This does not mean drink your entire daily requirement of water in 1 hour. It means drink through out your day.
4. Have a Game Plan.
Before Exercise: 16 oz. of fluids 2 hours before competition or session.
During Exercise: 6-8 oz. of fluid every 15 minutes.
After Exercise: 16 oz. of fluid for every pound of body weight lost. (Compare to pre-exercise weight)
5. Entice your water. Make your water something you want. Put sliced lemons and oranges in it. Put mint and raspberries in it. Give it some flavor with natural fruits.
6. Decrease your routine’s intensity on days that are hot and/or humid.
7. Frequent breaks during your workout sessions. This is a great time to adjust clothing (take some layers off), get water and rest.
8. IF your exercise session or competition is greater then 90 minutes in length, IF the athlete is producing a large amount of sweat and/or IF the environment is hot or humid, electrolytes, as well as water, must be replaced. Electrolyte drinks can be purchased, Gatorade, or made at home. Another popular replacement is coconut water, which is a viable source of potassium.
9. Check you Urine. Yup, we are going there: I’m going to talk about your pee. As long as you don’t have medical issues associated with using the restroom this rule will apply. Normal people pee 8-10 oz. of fluid about 4 times per day. If you are trying to rehydrate aim to pee once per hour. Your kidneys are only semi-efficient at this rehydration process so peeing does not signal complete rehydration BUT it is a good marker to follow while tracking your fluids.
10. Spend at least 3 days keeping track of how many ounces you drink and how your body feels. If symptoms of dehydration aren’t alleviated you may need more water of see your doctor for further medical attention.
MORPH your daily routine back into it’s previous, Bing-Bam-Boom structure of intricate balance and awesomeness. LISTEN to the signals your body is communicating. Put in your best STARTING LINEUP to have a winning, productive day. UNTWIST the knots and bows a nagging headache is famous for. RELEASE the mental toddler from it’s nonsensical tirade. You are the PROOF that water is life giving. STAY HYDRATED.
Play Hard, Get Fit.