We all know it’s important for us to drink water and stay hydrated. Proper hydration is especially important when it comes to your fitness. It’s likely that when you think about dehydration, you picture someone stranded in a desert or something similar. But the actual definition of dehydration is simply when the body loses more fluid than it takes in.
That said, it’s easier than many realize to become mildly dehydrated. Severe dehydration can result in hospitalization. However, for this post, we’re talking about mild dehydration which can be a result of simply not drinking quite as much as your body needs. Mild dehydration is something many of us could potentially experience on a day-to-day basis.
But Why Is Proper Hydration So Important?
Water makes up over two-thirds of a healthy human body, so when your body’s hydration levels are low, it can affect the way your whole body functions. How? Every organ in your body needs water to function correctly and because so much of your body is water, even just losing a small amount of it can have a significant impact. Water helps with digestion, flushing out waste and toxins and it even helps with blood circulation.
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Skin cells also need water to function properly, and when they don’t get proper hydration, it can affect the way your skin looks. We all know how different our skin looks when we’ve been drinking plenty of water compared to when we’ve been hitting the alcohol pretty hard. By the way, alcohol encourages your body to expel water, so make sure you monitor your alcohol intake and rehydrate with water. Unfortunately, Gin doesn’t count as a way to rehydrate.
How To You Know If You’re Staying Properly Hydrated?
The recommended daily water intake is an average of 2 liters, but this amount will vary from person to person. A better way to figure out how much water you need is to check the color of your urine – not particularly glamorous, I know, but it works. Here’s a good rule of thumb:
- If your urine is a pale yellow color, like the color of straw, then you’re sufficiently hydrated.
- If it’s bright or dark yellow, then you need to drink more water.
- If it is completely clear, then you may be drinking too much, which can also cause health issues.
So when it comes to proper hydration, it’s important to find that healthy balance, which will be different for everyone.
Last year, (2016) researchers found that even mild dehydration could have a negative impact on cardiovascular health! The study found that minor dehydration might promote the hardening of arteries in young, healthy men, with these changes occurring when dehydration was as mild as just 2% (which is around the level when most people will start feeling thirsty). More research is being planned to study the effect on women too.
So there you have it; proper hydration is crucial for your whole body, so make sure you keep an eye on your water intake, particularly when you’re active because you’ll be sweating more.