Our bodies consist mostly of water. Each cell, organ or tissue needs water to stay alive and function normally. To stay hydrated is to enable our cells to properly exchange nutritional substances, regulate body temperature, and maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes that affect functionality of our nerves and muscles etc.
Why is it so important to stay hydrated?
If our body is not properly hydrated it will begin to shut down. Drinking enough fluids enables us to remove toxic body waste, process and absorb vitamins and minerals from food, and have a healthy metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure.
Even the slightest variation in percentage of water creates amazing changes in our bodies. If you lose only 2% of body-water, you won’t be able to perform intense physical activity (sports, hiking, running etc.). After you dehydrate 3% or 4%, your bio-physiology is disbalanced enough to increase heart beats, blood pressure and body-temperature. A loss of more than 10% of fluids is considered medical emergency.
Further dehydration creates severe and life-threatening symptoms like confusion, panic attacks, rapid breathing with weak pulse, loss of consciousness and death. We can stay alive up to 40 days without consuming food, but without water we can last only up to 5 days.
Am I properly hydrated?
Metabolisms differ and some people perspire more, or are more into sport and physical activities; also, things like warm weather, body fever, vomiting or diarrhea can rapidly create dehydration.
Some signs of dehydration are:
If you are urinating every 2 – 4 hours, and if your urine is pale yellow, almost clear, you are probably hydrated enough. If it’s less than that and your urine is dark, you need to consume more fluids to stay hydrated.
If you are exercising or doing hard physical work, especially if it’s warm outside, you should drink more fluids because you will sweat more and lose more water through skin and breathing. It’s usually recommended to drink water more often in small sips, before, during and after physical activity.
5 simple tips to stay hydrated
- Keep water in your sight. On your working desk, at the dinner table, next to your bed. We are living busy lives and often forget our basic needs. If fluids are at hand’s reach, you will drink more of it.
- Get into the habit of drinking one glass of water before each meal.
- Eating more fruits and vegetables is also a great way to stay hydrated. It will benefit your health in many ways.
- Don’t exaggerate with too much water. It’s always better to drink more often, sip by sip, than to drink large quantities less frequently.
- Clean, fresh water is usually the best fluid to stay hydrated, but if you get bored of it, you can flavor it with lemon, grapes, oranges or some other freshly squeezed fruit juice of your own preference. Make water taste better and enjoy it!