Water, water everywhere, but are you drinking enough? Unfortunately, most of us are not. It’s summertime, and summer will do what it does, and be what it is: hot. Even if you don’t work outdoors, or do your fitness training in the heat, you probably should consider drinking more water. Fact is, a lot of us, the majority of us, are walkin’ around with a case of chronic, low-grade dehydration. Are you one of the afflicted?
Chronic Low-Grade Dehydration*
Understand, by low-grade, I mean subtle, not sudden or severe, or even readily noticeable. Since it’s low-grade, its sneaky, and just because the debilitating affects aren’t seen or felt as harshly as in the case of severe dehydration, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously. Because it’s chronic, we live with it every day and probably don’t even notice it any more until it edges toward severe. Symptoms of this widespread menace include:
- Brain fog or mental fatigue
- Physical fatigue
- Drowsy or sleepy even after a good night’s rest
- Muscle aches
- Bad breath
- Dry or itchy skin
- Dark urine
This morning after working out, I just happened to hear a report on NPR detailing how low-grade dehydration affects mental acuity. This short but informative segment is worth a listen: Off Your Mental Game? You Could Be Mildly Dehydrated.
It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway: drink lots of good ole H2O, aka, water. Whether you’re working or playing in the summer heat, or working out or playing in a cushy club’s A/C, drink good quality water. Then drink some more. Our bodies are mostly water, so even a “touch” of dehydration can negatively affect your mental focus, emotional capacity, and physical performance.
When you’re sweating, you’re also leaking precious minerals that you’ll need to replace. Consider adding Hydration and Mineral Support aids to your water. I’ve compiled several great options for you on that page that are free of dangerous and unnecessary additives.
If water is just not your thing and you prefer something with a little more taste and personality, throw in natural / non-GMO / organic fruit or vegetable slices for a hint of flavor:
- Fresh berries
- Citrus fruits (orange, lemons, limes, etc)
- Peach, kiwi, or plum slices
- Melons (water, honeydew, etc)
- Garlic and black pepper (not really, just checking to see if you’re paying attention)
- Mint leaves
- Ginger slices
We’ve also got you covered if you need a handy, BPA-free, or stainless steel Water Bottle.
How Much Should I Drink?
Other than just telling you to drink up, I can’t say how much you should drink because I don’t know the variables in your daily equation:
- Activity level
- How much you sweat, breathe, etc.
- Environmental conditions (indoor and outdoor)
- How much of your day is spent indoors / outdoors
- Etc, etc
In general, though, it is recommended that we intake, at a minimum, 64 ounces of water a day. One visual indicator that you need more is the volume and color of your urine; if it is moderate to dark yellow and / or you’re not using the restroom very often, that might mean you need more fluids*. Again, it all depends on your personal factors and variables.
I hope this has been somewhat helpful, if for nothing else than to remind you to drink more water. Start tracking your water intake and how you feel, mentally, physically, and emotionally on days you have more or less water, and then decide to do what’s needed to leave low-grade dehydration behind.