Stay Hydrated My Friends (Are you sure you aren’t dehydrated?)

Siim Land

Drinking water is more important than nutrition. It’s our second source of fuel for existence, right after oxygen. To survive we need to keep breathing, but also have to stay hydrated.

The Essence of Life

Our body is made up of mostly water, 60% actually. The H20 molecules are in our tissue, muscles, brain, all cells, blood and bones. It’s a part of every living being.

Water is a lubricant for our joints, regulates our body temperature and clears waste through sweating.

Even so, what determines life in any environment is water. The first essence of life here on Earth also sprouted into existence at the depths of the sea.

Dangers of Dehydration

Because of that, dehydration can lead to severe life-threatening issues. The maximum we can live without water is about 1 week or so.

  • The brain won’t be able to manage hormones and neurotransmitters. It will then draw water from the rest of the body, like your cells and muscles.
  • There will be less blood circulating, that leads to too low blood pressure.
  • Body temperature rises because of not sweating.
  • You will experience dizziness and eventually can faint.
  • Kidneys get overloaded with waste and toxins. Kidney stones are a potential danger as well.
  • You’ll have digestive problems, like constipation, acid reflux, indigestion and toxin accumulation.
  • You may get blood clots, which is bad for circulation and very uncomfortable.
  • Your physical and mental performance will drop severely. Being only slightly dehydrated can make you 10% weaker.

How Much Water to Stay Hydrated

So, it’s vital drink enough water. Stay hydrated during summer, because the hot temperatures are lowering our body liquid levels through excessive sweating. Of course, you have to do it all the time.

How much water should I drink a day?

The recommendation you’ve probably heard many times is 8 cups. That’s less than 2 liters, which isn’t enough.

An adequate amount would be about 3 liters for men and 2.2 for women. The bigger your body weight, the more you need to maintain a balance. Stay hydrated with coffee and other diuretic beverages as well. Drink even more, in that case.

How to Know You Are Hydrated?

It’s hard to tell by your own intuition. Luckily, our body will start to show some hard evidence and clues for us.

If you’re completely drained of energy, have muscle spasms and blurry visions, then call for help! At this point you’ve gone too far and it’s dangerous.

However, before you start seeing hallucinations and facing impending doom, you’ll experience less severe symptoms, such as.

  • Dry mouth and bad breath.
  • Headaches and lightheadedness.
  • Joint and muscle pain.
  • Accelerated heartbeat.
  • Fatigue and lethargy.
  • Sunken eyes.
  • Dry and fractured lips.
  • Loose skin.

There are also quick and easy tests you can do.

Pinch your skin and if it takes longer than 2 seconds to lower back down, then you should drink some water.

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Also, the color of your urine shows this as well.

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Stay Hydrated Tips

Do you have to start carrying around a gallon with you? No.

Got to stay hydrated, bro...
Got to stay hydrated, bro…

But it’s a great idea to have an idea about how much water you’ve consumed and whether or not you need to pick up the pace.

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However, don’t make the mistake of chugging an entire all at once. You won’t be able to absorb it. Expect to walk between the bathroom a lot shortly.

The best way to stay hydrated at work is to simply pick up the habit of every once in a while having a sip. Have your bottle next to you and drink every 5 minutes or so. If you’re already feeling thirsty, then it’s too late. You have to pre-empt that.

Do you have to stay hydrated at night? If you consumed adequate amounts of water during the day, then I don’t see any problem with not drinking for 7-8 hours. It can actually be bad for you because of having to wake up all the time to go the bathroom. Stop with all liquids after dinner and let your bladder empty itself.

Stay Hydrated During Exercise

For every 30 minutes of exercise, aim to drink about 10oz of water[1]

In the case of an intense workout lasting longer than an hour, you should also replace electrolytes as well[2]. You can either drink some water with a bit of salt in it, or make up for it by later adding some extra sodium to your food.

I wouldn’t use sport’s drinks, like Powerade or Gatorade because they have a high sugar content. Even though you’ll be using that glucose as fuel during exercise, it’s still not optimal. If you think you’re a Tour de France cyclist who needs to replenish their glycogen stores to maintain their top 5% performance, then trust me, you’re not. Also, using too many carbohydrates to fuel your workouts may lead to insulin resistance and diabetes even in healthy individuals.

Overhydration

Yes, even too much of the good stuff can be bad.

Drinking too much can lead to hyponatremia, which is when excess water in our bodies dilutes the sodium content of our blood[3][4]

You may experience nausea, headaches, confusion, seizures and even coma.

How much is too much? It would depend on how much you’re sweating and exercising. I would imagine more than 4 liters isn’t optimal.

How to Stay EXTRA Hydrated

But no matter how much water we drink, it won’t hydrate us, unless we actually absorb it. Also, low quality tap water isn’t good either. It has the H20 molecule in it, but it can’t be characterized as aqua.

In nature, water is also filled with minerals that gives it it’s hydrating power. Salt is also essential for life and needed to maintain bodily liquid levels.

First off, I would discard drinking any tap water in large urban areas. It’s filled with chemicals that are meant to keep it clean but will also disconnect us from our pineal gland. If you feel like your cognition is degrading, then consider swapping out your water source. Adding tap filters and dispensers is a great.

Drinking water coming from a fresh spring is an ideal worth striving towards, but hard to accomplish.

But, you can improve hydration by adding a pinch of quality sea salt to your water. I have one first thing in the morning, as it rejuvenates the body instantly.

Stay safe, kids. Stay hydrated.

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[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15212747

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18480012

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1872071/

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16843082