You may feel like you’ve made up of muscle and that other not-so-great body element (fat!), but in fact, the average adult human body is up to 65% water. And just like our drought-stricken dams, these levels need to be kept topped up to keep the whole system running efficiently and healthily. It helps to regulate your body temperature and lubricate your joints. It also helps transport nutrients to give you energy. If you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its optimum level. Cue fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, or more serious symptoms.
Sports-drink brands love to smother the exercising person with reasons why they should be drunk over anything else, but what nature provides (water) is perfectly fine. Although, sports drinks, infused waters and protein shakes do have their place, but mostly for people who are exercising intensely, a marathon or an insane training session for example. That’s because in such tough circumstances the body needs more than water, it needs electrolytes too.
Electrolytes occur when salts dissolve in fluid and break apart into their component ions, creating an electrically conductive solution or electrolyte solution, which helps create a homeostatic environment in order for electric signals to reach their destinations and make your body work. Simply put, they are minerals that help regulate your temperature and the amount of fluid in your body. Electrolytes need water, water needs electrolytes, and the body needs both. By the way, fruits such as dates and bananas are a great source of electrolytes, so I guess nature still wins.
Watch out though! There is the possibility of over-drinking water. This is bad because it can lead to hyponatremia; the washing out of all the salts and electrolytes your body needs to function properly. So don’t over-hydrate by drinking fluid at a rate that is more than you sweat, or replacing fluids with only water.
Some signs to look out for before you reach peak dehydration are:
- Your pee: if it is totally yellow, drink more water, if it is barely yellow then you are drinking enough.
- An inkling of thirst: sip water even when you’re not completely parched, because being slightly thirsty means something.
- Tired muscles: lean muscle tissue contains more than 75 per cent water, so when the body is short on H2O, muscles are more easily fatigued.
- Skin turgor: if you pinch yourself and your skin remains in that pinched position then you are not sufficiently hydrated.
- Dry mouth: if your mouth is dry, your body is asking for some water.
- Feeling light-headed: if you don’t have enough water in your body, your heart has to work harder, so your blood pressure drops.
And that’s a wrap; your sweat sesh, dehydration free, brought to you by the one and only, water.
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