7 minute read
Right now you're about to discover everything you need to know about how to stay hydrated.
Seriously, hydration is the single most important foundation to living your best life. And who doesn't want to be living their best life?
Don't believe me?
According to Medical Daily seventy five percent of Americans suffer from dehydration. An absurd amount that can be more than cut in half with just a tiny bit of information. Read below to find out the 8 significant factors that affect your individual hydration! 💦
Let's get right into it...
1 - Sweating:
Sweating is an essential part of exercise, at least it should be! Sweat a lot, and you'll need to replace more fluid (and electrolytes). During exercise or physical exertion, the body will begin to sweat as part of its natural cooling process.
As your temperature rises, your sweat glands are activated to release water and cool the body using evaporation.
Each drop of sweat that evaporates from your skin takes with it a tiny amount of heat. Sweating also helps hydrate the skin and balance electrolytes. Ever notice that sweat tastes salty? Sodium is an electrolyte that helps with hydration.
Properly cooling the body for improved athletic performance both in the gym and outdoors depends on hydration. You will fatigue much faster if your body isn’t hydrated enough to sweat and cool off.
Dry, hot environments and high altitudes take fluid away from your body faster (Vegas baby!!!!). Hot and humid air is already saturated with water, so sweat takes longer to cool you down, and you’ll have to sweat more. In cold climates, the air has less water which makes sweat evaporate faster.
As you rise in altitude the air becomes colder, thinner, and holds less moisture than warm air. As the body acclimates to the increasing altitude you urinate more to avoid respiratory alkalosis (elevated blood pH). You’ll also urinate more frequently in colder weather so your body doesn’t waste energy by keeping your waste warm.
Higher altitude also means lower oxygen concentration. You must breathe more often and more rapidly to get the same amount of oxygen you would get at lower altitudes, which depletes water faster.
3 - Body size:
Smaller adults have a smaller volume and surface area. Thus, they lose relatively less fluid than larger adults via respiration and sweating. (This does not apply to children, however, who can become dehydrated quickly.)
4 - Salty food:
The typical American diet is high in salt. Higher salt intake means you may retain water or feel thirstier and want to drink more. (Sugary foods cause a similar response). Sodium is a vital component of hydration as an electrolyte, but excess sodium will cause you to retain water. Water retention is NOT the same as hydration.
Excess dietary sodium intake means frequent overnight bathroom trips. This is particularly true for elderly individuals as you lose your ability to process sodium as you age.
5 - Alcohol:
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes your body to excrete fluids at an accelerated rate as opposed to other drinks. Alcohol dehydrates you thanks to its suppression of a hormone called vasopressin, which is an antidiuretic.
Vasopressin normally limits how much water your kidneys can excrete, which helps prevent dehydration. When you drink, vasopressin is suppressed. Your kidneys fail to reabsorb water as they normally would, and you have to urinate more often.
Always drink water before, during, and after drinking alcohol. Staying hydrated can also help prevent hangovers.
Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances on the planet. Caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea, and sodas, have a mild diuretic effect. They remove water and other nutrients from your body.
You may notice you urinate more when you drink caffeine. Doses higher than 250-300 mg can cause higher amounts of fluid loss via the urine. If you’re drinking coffee a lot, be sure to drink more water as well.
7 - Hormones:
If you're a woman of reproductive age, your hormones will change your body water levels throughout your menstrual cycle.
Dehydration during the menstrual cycle has been shown to negatively impact cognitive function, mood state, fatigue and increased pain and cramps.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation; if you’re not having regular bowel movements try drinking more water. And, if you've recently had diarrhea or vomited, you'll want to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes.
The majority of fluids are absorbed in the small intestine. Gastric emptying controls the rate at which fluids enter the small intestine and then the bloodstream. Proper hydration helps your bowels absorb nutrients and move waste to be excreted.
Your kidneys are responsible for regulating water balance and blood pressure as well as removing waste from the body. This process is controlled by the vasopressin hormone. Vasopressin responds based on a feedback loop that includes your body’s hydration status. It helps tell your kidneys to either hold water or release it.