Want to dominate? Then hydrate

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Anyone can get dehydrated. Dehydration can cause serious health complications so it’s important to stay hydrated.

Mayo Clinic says “dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.” It’s vital to replace those lost fluids.

Being dehydrated is very dangerous, especially for children, older adults, people with chronic illness, and people who work/exercise outside they claim. You also have higher chances of becoming dehydrated if you are experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, fever, excessive sweating, and increased urination.

According to familydoctor.org, some common symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • No tears when crying

Dehydration can cause heat injury, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, and low blood volume shock, Mayo Clinic provides. These issues can be life-threatening and you may need to see a doctor if you are suffering from severe dehydration.

When you’re dehydrated your body suffers.

Research has shown that “as little as one percent dehydration negatively affects mood, attention, memory, and motor coordination,” says ScienceAlert. It could also reduce brain volume and cell function because your brain tissue fluid decreases with dehydration. And if you lose water without replacing it, your kidneys are triggered to retain water due to increased blood concentration so you urinate less. This higher concentration of blood also makes it difficult for the cardiovascular system to maintain blood pressure. Not to mention, less water can cause hyperthermia because of the strain it puts on your body as it tries to regulate temperature.

Obviously dehydration doesn’t do any good for your body so it’s best to avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place. If you are dehydrated though, try these ways Gavin Van De Waller,MS,RD claims are the best ways to rehydrate quickly:

  • Drink water
  • Steer clear of coffee and tea but moderate amounts are OK
  • Have a glass of skim or low-fat milk
  • Snack on some fruits and veggies
  • Try oral hydration solutions

Do Lectures talks about their own water hack similar to an oral hydration solution. “Just drinking a ton of water doesn’t mean your body can use it all,” they claim. “To achieve a hydrated state, you need to absorb the fluids.”

They suggest adding sea salt to water because sodium and glucose can provide the right balance of electrolytes to improve absorption. Just be sure not to overdo it, all you need is a little (for example, a pinch in a liter).

Other hacks they provide are to:

  • Drink water 30 minutes before eating — it’ll absorb faster than drinking while eating
  • Drink water on an empty stomach — it’ll enter your bloodstream quick
  • Drink frequently — drinking small amounts often is more hydrating than drinking a lot quickly
  • Check your urine — a dark color means you could use some more water, while a light or clear color means you could drink less water

Though there is one exception where it is okay to be a little dehydrated.

According to BSX Technologies, “becoming a little dehydrated during exercise is not as costly as drinking more than you can tolerate in an effort to completely prevent dehydration.”

They claim it’s better to drink water based on thirst during exercise rather than try to force yourself to drink as much fluid as you’re losing. They make this argument because scientists have found it’s nearly impossible to drink enough to completely prevent dehydration during exercise, at least not without experiencing gastrointestinal distress like bloating, sloshing, or nausea.

BSX Technologies also advises worrying about hydration before working out rather than during. “Research has consistently shown that regardless of how little or how much people drink during exercise, they stay cooler and perform better if they are fully hydrated at the start,” they say.

So make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day in order to remain better hydrated during exercise. WebMD says if you are going to the bathroom every two to four hours, then you’re drinking enough.

While drinking water is the most well-known way to stay hydrated, there are actually things unrelated to water that can help you stay hydrated too.

MedExpress suggests the following ways you can stay hydrated:

  • Have oatmeal for breakfast
  • Try carb alternatives like zucchini noodles
  • Sip on a smoothie
  • Eat more veggies
  • Slurp soup
  • Blend some hydrating fruit and freeze it to make popsicles

All these methods can boost hydration so — if water isn’t your thing — take care of your health and prevent dehydration by implementing them into your diet.

By staying hydrated, we don’t just prevent dehydration but also can experience many other benefits of drinking enough water.

According to Joe Leech, MS, water doesn’t only maximize physical performance but also increases energy and brain function. Studies have shown fluid loss impairs mood, concentration, memory, and brain performance. Drinking water can also relieve headaches and constipation, prevent hangovers and recurrence of kidney stones, and aid weight loss efforts.

However, there are instances in which drinking water may be harmful. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as drinking too much water — it’s called water intoxication.

“The symptoms of water intoxication are general — they can include confusion, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting,” provides Medical News Today. “In rare cases, water intoxication can cause swelling in the brain and become fatal.”

Drinking too much water can lead to too much water in the blood, which dilutes the electrolytes in the blood and can lead to hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is when sodium levels are low and when sodium levels are low enough, fluid starts to enter cells and make them swell. This can be life-threatening if brain cells are the ones swelling up.

In severe cases, they say symptoms include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Muscles weakness/cramping
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Double vision
  • Confusion
  • Inhibited senses
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Fortunately, water intoxication isn’t common and difficult to do by accident. The people most at risk of water intoxication are those participating in sporting events, endurance training, or individuals who have schizophrenia.

In order to avoid this from happening to you, “it is important to not outpace the kidneys by drinking more water than they can eliminate,” Medical News today says. “The kidneys can remove 20–28 liters of water per day, but they cannot excrete more than 0.8 to 1.0 liters per hour.”

The amount of water someone needs is different for everyone. They say the right amount depends on your body weight, level of activity, the climate, and whether you are breastfeeding or not. Just don’t drink too little or you can become dehydrated, and don’t drink more too much or you’ll over hydrate and put yourself in danger. Drinking the right amount of water for you can improve your overall health and quality of life. So go get drinking (safely, of course).

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