If you’re into physical fitness, outdoor activities or simply want to take care of yourself in your day to day job, then you’ll have heard a lot about how hydrating is important. If you don’t know why, though, it’s hard to find the motivation to ensure you drink enough water every day. It takes effort to keep to the routine of drinking water as you go through the working, so let’s make sure you know it’s worthwhile by looking at why hydration is important.
What Does Water Do For Your Body?
From the moment you drink it, water starts doing dozens of important jobs around the body. It lubricates the joints and eyeballs, is a component in the blood that carries nutrients, oxygen and glucose around the body to where they’re needed, and helps carry toxins out of the body via the kidneys.
Water also fills up our cells as the main component of cytoplasm, which helps your cells hold together. If you’ve experienced a headache during a hangover, or after exercise, this is because a lack of water has actually caused your brain to shrink inside your skull. This can also affect your mood and cognitive functions!
More Than Water
When you’re dehydrated, the problem isn’t only that your fluid levels are low. The most common ways we lose water are through sweating, urination and simply in our breath. We can also lose fluid more quickly through vomiting and diarrhea and in all these different ways of dehydrating we also lose the key compounds our body keeps dissolved in water: our electrolytes. These are water soluble salts, including sodium, magnesium and calcium.
Electrolytes are used by your body for lots of important functions: they help to transmit impulses along your nerves and into your muscles, they enable those muscles to contract (including your heart!) and they help to regulate the amount of water in your cells.
Rehydrating with Electrolytes
This means that if you’re dehydrated and you rehydrate with water alone – not taking your electrolyte levels into account, you could make things substantially worse for yourself! If you’ve been working out, or simply walking on a hot day and have sweated a lot, then you’ve lost a lot of electrolytes as well as fluid. If you quench your thirst with a lot of plain water you’ll actually dilute the remaining electrolytes in your system and make them less effective. In advanced cases, this can lead to ‘water intoxication’, which causes confusion, unconsciousness or even death!
Keep some oral rehydration tablets in your gym bag, your medicine cabinet or desk drawer, and you’ll be able to keep rehydrated in the healthiest way, whenever you need to!
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