You know that feeling when
Your body feels like ‘blah’? (I know, super scientific with that description) But seriously, your neck, back, hips, and legs either feel like Jell-O, or a 1,000-pound block of cement when trying to get up-and-out of bed.
Not before long you shake those feelings out, but lone behold, by the middle of the day you begin to feel sluggish, and tired. You’ve sucked down coffee, tea, snacks, and whatever else can keep you focused throughout the day, burning a hole in your pocket and energy. But what about the most vital part of what you as a human being is made up of; did you happen to try just adding more of that?
“Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.
According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.” (source)
Water is literally the most important nutrient you can give your body. Regardless of how many vitamins, proteins, vegetables, healthy foods, or even exercise you give the body, not giving it enough water can be like trying to move a car that’s stuck in neutral.
If you walk down the street and ask 10 random people, I bet they can tell you how important it is to drink your water each day, its just common sense! But yet, there is a disconnect between common sense and taking action; nearly all of us live every single day in a state of dehydration.
Ways You Use Water
Your body is a well-oiled machine (well, I should say oiled with water, that is). It runs and regulates itself really, really well, using water as the main component of living. The only issue is, when you begin to run out of water storage, there is no emergency button to magically have more on hand to support your brain, heart, and many other functions of the body like digestion or muscle activation. This simple tasteless and essential beverage is used by the body in a few ways;
- A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, it acts as a building material (the foundation.
- Regulating your internal body temperature by sweating and respiration
- Transports carbohydrates and proteins metabolized from foods and is transported by water into the bloodstream
- It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination
- Acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus during impact or trauma (cushioning)
- Forms saliva to help food breakdown, maintain oral health, and healthy respiration
- lubricates joints
The Key Takeaway: Water effects the most vital functions of the body, and is the large majority of what the body even is! These bullet points above highlight some of those key elements.
What Does Dehydration Feel Like?
Science cannot lie, so to help back me up on the importance of water to have your body in peak condition, here is some insight from a few studies:
“In healthy young women, mild levels of dehydration result in adverse changes in key mood states such as vigor and fatigue as well as increased headaches and difficulty concentrating, without substantially altering key aspects of cognitive performance.” (Armstrong et al. 2011)
“Individuals who begin exercise with a fluid deficit will not perform as well as they will when fully hydrated… An impaired performance is observed whether the exercise lasts a few minutes, or whether it is more prolonged, although muscular strength appears to be relatively unaffected, and tasks with a large aerobic* component are affected to a greater extent than those that rely primarily on anaerobic metabolism.” (Maughan, 2003)
*Aerobic exercise is one that aims to improve the efficiency of your heart and lungs to absorb and transport oxygen…anything in a sustained/long duration
Dehydration can be easily confused with the same aches and soreness from exercise, ‘just feeling stiff’, lacking mental clarity and attention. Plus, dry/chapped lips, consistent headache, muscle cramps (those damn charlie horses), and still feeling hungry after you have just eaten are all very common signs of dehydration too. But aside from feelings you have, one of the most foolproof ways to recognize if you are properly hydrated is…
Check Your Pee!
We are all adults here [kind-of], so I hope you don’t have an issue with being a bathroom investigator from time to time. Regardless of the water that you gulped down 5 minutes ago at the start of this article, it takes a while for the water to spread effectively throughout your body. Sometimes, if you chronically function with low intake, it can take 2-3 weeks to properly rehydrate the body! The best approach to reversing dehydration is to constantly have water flowing into the body. Yes, that might mean more bathroom breaks throughout the day, but it is much better than the alternatives.
How Much Water Do I Really Need?
Like I stated above, one of the best measures of how much water you need is directly related to;
- The color of your pee
- The frequency of bathroom trips (more = good)
- If you feel thirsty, find something to drink ASAP
If you, like me, love to have a goal or measure to aim for, then this ‘Hydration Calculator’ is a great launch point. Click the Link Here .
It takes into account height, weight, the color of your pee, sweat levels, the activity you’re about to do, and the weather. It might sound like a lot, but it really only takes about 60 seconds to punch in all of the information, and it will generate you a custom report for the data entered. You can use this anywhere from a stroll in the sunshine to preparing your fluids for a Half Marathon. Use this as a guide, not as a stressor if you can’t seem to force that much water into your system.
The Key Takeaway: The easiest way to measure hydration is to be a bathroom detective. Depending on the weather, exercise, and even stress levels, the amount of water you need will slightly change from day to day. Be consistent by always having some ready to go.
Ways to Hydrate
It is all about habits. Don’t worry about adding electrolytes, powder mixes, or other “hydration enhancement” supplements before hammering in the habit of keeping water flowing into your mouth.
If you have tried any of the hydration methods I’ve talked about in this article and are still having some trouble, send me a message and I can help customize a solution for you.
Start by reminding yourself of how important water is to keep your body to be happy. Taking consistent efforts to consciously keep water near you, and then actually remembering to open it up and drink it is the next step! It can become really expensive to buy a water bottle every time you are out of the house, so I highly recommend purchasing a refillable/reusable bottle (A Hydroflask. Contigo, Nalgene, LifeFactory, Yeti, or something similar; follow the links to purchase). Here are a few tips to use them to your advantage;
Always leave a full bottle in your car ready to go
Once you get home at the end of your day, refill your bottle and bring it back out to the car before settling in for the night. This is a foolproof way to prevent forgetting it full right on the counter; you have 101 other things to focus on in the morning, take this important one out of the equation
Choose a size you are able to carry around with you.
As brilliant it is to buy the gallon sized reusable bottle, I highly doubt when you take a hike, go to a sports game, walk around the mall, or are running errands that you will lug around 8 pounds of water, I know I wouldn’t. Whether it is a smaller bottle, like 12 or 18-ounce, or even a 32 or 64- ounce bottle, make sure you choose one that is REALISTIC for you to use in many different situations.
Get more than one!
Chances are you will either forget it somewhere and never find it again, or you’ll use it so much that eventually, it will need to be replaced. To combat both of those potential scenarios, having a second bottle ready to go at any point is a foolproof way to always keep with the routine of bringing your bottle with you. All it takes is a few days or weeks without reinforcing the habit of hydrating before the effects of dehydration can come creeping back in.
Thank you for investing time into appreciating your body. If you are looking for specific support, guidance, or information, feel free to send me a message! Stay up to date with my coaching, nutrition, and positive lifestyle enhancement tactics, follow me on social media.