The Importance of Hydration

Everyone depends on water to survive. Our bodies are made mostly of water and every cell needs water in order to function. Water helps us maintain our body temperature, remove waste, lubricate our joints, and helps us satiate our hunger. These are a few of many reasons why drinking water is so important.

Of course, we have countless beverages other than water such as juices, sports drinks, soda, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. However, while they may contribute to our daily water intake, none of these beverages can be used as a replacement for water as they will not give the body its recommended water intake. So, how do you know you’re well hydrated, and what signs of dehydration should you look out for?


THIRST

Perhaps the most obvious sign, thirst is the biggest indicator that you are dehydrated. This is especially a sign during more intense exercises so, be sure to have water close by when exercising.


BE “IN THE CLEAR”

Thirst is not the only indicator of dehydration. In fact, we may be dehydrated without realizing it. The next time you have a bathroom break, check the color of your urine. Clear or light-yellow is a sign of good hydration. If you see dark-yellow or amber color, drink a glass of water immediately. 


OVER DRINKING
ALTERNATIVE BEVERAGES

Good news for coffee lovers: 200-300 milligrams, or two to four 8-ounce cups of caffeine, is not harmful to the body. However, any more may cause people to urinate more frequently, cause jitters, headaches, and increase anxiety. Other ingredients such as salt, alcohol, sugars, can harm the body when taken in excessive amounts. It’s important to drink other beverages only in moderation, and refer to water as the primary


HEADACHES

Dehydration can feel like a punishment to certain parts of the body. Without enough water, the brain can contract or shrink, pulling away from the skull and causing pain known as a dehydration headache. Other symptoms are muscle cramps, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and, if severe, fainting.


Written by: Ryan Bowen
Cardinal Health Fitness Center – Mansfield

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