Are we chronically dehydrated?
Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? In fact, dehydration is a hidden cause of aches and pains and can actually lay the groundwork for diseases like cancer and diabetes
Contrary to popular belief, our thirst mechanisms are actually quite weak and usually do not kick in until we are already mildly dehydrated. Sometimes we also mistake thirst for hunger, and drinking a glass of water instead of eating can usually curb hunger pangs. Common signs of dehydration include headaches, dry skin, dark urine, dry mouth, fatigue, nausea, chills, head rushes, and skin flushing.
New research published in the Journal of Nutrition reveals the importance of staying optimally hydrated. Over three days, a group of young women were subjected to exercise-induced dehydration, and their cognitive performance, mood, and symptoms of dehydration were measured during rest and during exercise. At just over 1% dehydration level, subjects showed a mood change for the worse, and concentration, headache symptoms, and task difficulty were also affected.
A separate study found that mild dehydration can affect physical performance as well. The motor performance of golfers's game, including shot distance, target accuracy, and distance judgment, was tested at different dehydration levels. Their results were better when they were fully hydrated than when they were tested at between 1-3% dehydration levels. Thus, it is important to hydrate before, during, and after exercise.
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