Tuesday Tip: Are you Dehydrated? 💧
The wonderful hot weather seems to be continuing (yay!) so I thought it would be good to touch on hydration this week. We have an average of 5 litres of water in our body, you can lose up to 2 litres in a single workout so in this weather, even if you’re not working out, dehydration is a real risk. It’s not just about thirst, in fact thirst is a really poor measure of hydration as once you’re thirsty you’ve probably been dehydrated for some time. So what should you watch for?
#1 Dry skin
Skin is 80% water so if you’re not drinking enough your skin will show you – dull, peeling, dry skin can mean you’re dehydrated.
#2 Fewer loo trips
Your kidneys use water to remove waste from your blood, so if you’re not getting enough water your kidneys can’t do this as effectively, this means you store it up, and you’ll need fewer loo trips. If this happens regularly then you may develop kidney stones. So if you’re pee-ing less than normal, drink more!
#3 Dark pee
The darker your urine the more dehydrated you are (usually – some foods also colour your pee e.g. beetroot). You want straw coloured pee!
Muscles are 75% water. If you’re dehydrated the body will take water and divert blood flow from the muscles in preference to essential organs (e.g the heart) so you’re likely to get cramps. Dehydration causes hypersensitivity and involuntary contraction of muscles.
#5 Blood pressure changes
As you dehydrate your blood becomes thicker as the water-containing plasma becomes more concentrated. This means there is less blood volume to pump and as a result blood pressure can drop short term. However, chronic dehydration can lead to high blood pressure. When cells lack water the brain sends a signal to the pituitary glad to secrete vasopressin, a chemical that causes constriction of the blood vessels and increased blood pressure.
Lack of water (and essential potassium and sodium) causes chemical changes in the blood. The brain is sensitive to these and reacts twith a headache. Equally if your blood volume drops the temporary reduction in blood pressure and oxygen flow to the brain causes the blood vessels in the brain to expand and swell which causes pressure headaches. They tend to be in back of the head and neck, or all over the head, and may get worse when you bend over. A sports drink or rehydration sachet will help to ease this.
After food is eaten, it is broken down in the small intestine and the non-essential portion of the food gets converted to waste. Dehydration causes the intestinal cells to extract water from the food waste in the intestines, causing the waste to become hard, leading to constipation.
#8 Joint pain
Dehydration causes the cartilage in joints to rub against each other, causing weakening and wearing over time. However, with adequate water supply and the formation of new cells, the cartilage can be repaired. Lack of water increases the delay of repair to these damaged joints and over time the cartilage can wear out completely.
#9 Bad breath
It’s a no brainer really – if you don’t have enough water then you won’t have enough saliva, so you’ll get a dry mouth and in turn bad breath.
The brain requires 85% water – more than any other organ in the body. Water deficiency in brain cells can result in an immediate reduction of the brain’s energy supply, which leads to fatigue, lethargy, and even depression.
Never attempt to drink your 2-3 litres of daily water quota in one sitting (that’s just as dangerous!), instead drink regularly, and get hydrating foods in e.g. melon, cucumber, grapes, celery etc. So get sipping!
I’m staying hydrated with my Sundried water bottle – ethical, recycled active-wear and accessories – save the planet and your body (and get 50% off by entering the code ‘NANCY’ at check out)
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