How Does Dehydration Affect Your Body?
Posted on 27th September 2021 at 12:03
When work’s been very busy and you’ve been on the go all day, you may be forgiven for forgetting to pick up your water bottle and take a quick break. We’ve all fallen victim at some point to having a water bottle on our desk at work with the best intentions to drink it all before 10am, before realising it’s now 3pm and not a drop has past your lips. But how important is it really to stay hydrated throughout the day?
It Turns Out - Very!
Water is pivotal to almost every process required for optimal function in the body. Did you know being dehydrated can reduce your endurance capacity by up to 50%?
When dehydrated by just 2% of your body mass, there’s a reduction in blood volume, meaning the blood becomes more viscous or thickened in the blood vessels. Imagine a balloon filled with water. If you squeeze it really hard, the water will come out easily. Now imagine the same balloon filled with cold gravy; it will be a lot harder to squeeze the contents out of the balloon.
This is similar to your heart when your blood thickens, as it requires a greater workload to pump the same volume of blood around the body when your blood is thickened than when fully hydrated. In turn you can experience a decrease in skin blood flow, sweat rate, and heat dissipation, which all point to an increased core temperature and an increased rate of glycogen use.
For you and I this means that your muscle energy stores become depleted quicker which causes a build-up of lactic acid in the tissues. With your heart working harder and your entire cardiovascular system working less efficiently, this acid does not get removed as quickly from the muscles which leads to reaching fatigue a lot quicker. The Institute of Medicine has declared that a physically active male adult should ideally consume about 4 litres, and females above the age of 18 should drink around 3 litres of water per day.
Not To Worry, I Am Not Physically Active…
Just because you’re not planning on running a marathon does not mean you get away without drinking water. In fact, studies have shown that mild dehydration can affect your cognitive performance in less than 2hrs. This will affect your ability to focus, perform tasks, make decisions, and control co-ordination - which all negatively impacted any facet of work life.
If performing below par at work isn’t enough, it can also affect your entire mood when at home. Being dehydrated can leave you feeling more tired, lethargic, irritable, and it can also cause headaches and light-headedness. To make things worse, did you know that those that are dehydrated have reported to experience a higher degree of pain? This means that the niggly back pain you have been experiencing at work can be exaggerated through not drinking enough water and can also mean you recover more slowly too!
Here’s Is The Good News
No-one likes to be grumpy in the office or when trying to relax at home. Thankfully, there’s a simple cure! Drinking over 2 litres of water per day or 8 tall glasses (depending on height and weight) will help to negate the effects of dehydration and help to give you mental and physical agility to keep you performing as optimally in the office and outdoors as possible.
So if you need motivation to reduce that grogginess, keep yourself out of pain, and keep that brain active then fill up your water bottle and get drinking.
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