HYDRATION, IMPORTANCE OF
Hydration is one of the most important autonomic concerns your body has. A body that is not properly hydrated will experience fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, increased heart rate, nausea, etc.; and unless fluids are introduced to the system quickly, the body may begin to shut down. If not hydrated, your body can soon go into renal failure, seizures, and even death.
Our bodies require water to survive. Daily water intake is essential for life. This is because you lose water when you breathe, when you sweat throughout the day, during heavier perspiration with exercise, through urination, and other ways. You can lose a pound of water or more during the night, just from breathing and perspiring.
More than 2/3 rd’s of your weight is water. This is why when you’re dieting you will see a fluctuation in your weight from day to day, up and down, depending on how well hydrated you are. You may weigh more after 2 days of dieting, simply because you drank more fluids over the past 2 days, even though you’ve actually lost fat weight. Water weighs a lot. Olympic and college wrestlers jump rope and even spit, just before their weigh-ins, in order to compete in a smaller weight class. They know that every ounce counts. 8 ounces of water equals 1/2 pound and 16 ounces of water equals 1 pound. If you drink a 32-ounce soda, you’ve just temporarily gained 2 pounds of water.
Our bodies need water for our blood to circulate, for our muscles to move, for our brain to think, for our nerves to conduct impulses, for cells to operate, for our skin to protect us, and for our heart to beat.
About 1/2 of our daily water comes from fluids we drink. The other 1/2 comes from foods we eat and from metabolism. Vegetables and fruit are full of water; lettuce is 95% water. In general, most authorities recommend we drink 8 cups of water per day, or about 64 ounces. Many people need even more than that, depending on factors such as their environment and how much they perspire.
Underhydration & Dehydration are sensed by the subfornical organ of the brain, which is just forward of the hypothalamus. This close proximity to the hypothalamus, our hunger center, may be one of the reasons why some people confuse the sensation of thirst with the sensation of hunger. Although not always, sometimes a person craves food when they are actually underhydrated or dehydrated. Sometimes, simply drinking a glass of fluid or water will make you feel less hungry as well as less thirsty.
When you feel thirsty, your blood sodium concentration has risen by 2 %, but it is not until your blood’s sodium concentration rises by 5 % that you are dehydrated. So, if you ignore your body’s signal for thirst, it won’t take long before you’re dehydrated. Many times, the best hydration drink is simply a glass of water. Yet, for one who perspires a lot during exercise, a sports drink may add additional nutrients like sugar and electrolytes, such as sodium, and aid the body in returning to homeostasis.
Although rare, a person can ingest too much water, so be careful. Drinking too much water can cause water intoxication, which is dangerous because it results in hyponatremia (low blood sodium concentration). Hyponatremia sometimes occurs in marathoners who drink too much water and don’t realize they’re not sweating it off. With that said, some say you would have to ingest about 15 liters of water to cause water intoxication in a healthy adult.
(Some information from 43)
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