Hydration is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of health despite the fact that our bodies rely on water to survive and function properly. In fact, approximately 20% of adults are dehydrated, suggesting that this is a significant global health concern (Griffith).
Hydration and the impact on the body’s internal functions
When the body becomes dehydrated, organs and processes that are important for our bodies to function efficiently are significantly impacted. Dehydration affects the body’s internal ability to regulate body temperature, digestion, circulation, energy levels, and disrupts the ability to remove waste from our body (Huang; barley; Liska). The ability to maintain healthy heart and liver function is greatly impacted by hydration levels (Huang).
Cognitive abilities, mental sharpness, and ability to focus are impacted when the body is dehydrated (Lindseth). It can also cause headaches and feelings of fatigue (Liska). Hydration promotes sustained performance both physically and mentally, which impacts everyone from extreme athletes and individuals enjoying day-to-day activities and life.
How hydration is essential for sustaining life
Hydration is the essential link between various pillars of health such as; exercise, body weight, eating habits, and sleep. Most people are aware that a healthy diet and exercise can lead to weight loss and/or maintenance of healthy body weight. However, that is only a small piece of the puzzle. Knowledge of one’s sleep, diet, exercise, AND hydration habits can have a direct impact on health, wellness, and behavioral lifestyle choices.
Explore below the impacts hydration has on these various aspects of your overall daily health.
Hydration status, whether we are hydrated or dehydrated, can impact our performance during exercise. (Barley). During exercise, water is lost at an increased rate when we sweat, which is why it is important to hydrate when engaging in any type of physical activity. Proper hydration before and after physical exercise is crucial to allow bodies to perform and recover adequately.
A healthy diet requires fueling the body with essential macro and micronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Fueling the body properly with adequate hydration is just as important as it has a direct impact on all functions and systems within the body. Water is a vital component of a healthy diet.
Lack of sleep may be associated with increased levels of dehydration when one does not consume enough water during the day (Madhavi). When we sleep, our body naturally causes us to lose fluids at a quicker rate. If you go to bed, already in a state of dehydration, this, in turn, causes the body to become more dehydrated and can also impact sleep quality (Priya; Wilkinson). Poor sleep quality can lead to a plethora of health issues.
Drinking water allows our digestive system to work properly and helps to eliminate fats from the body more efficiently. Additionally, people commonly mistake feelings of thirst for hunger. It is recommended that if you feel hungry, to first drink a glass of water to see if that satiates you. Research suggests that individuals who consumed more water each day were more likely to see a higher reduction in body fat versus those who were not properly hydrated during the duration of the study.
Life can get busy, so busy that we lose sight of important healthy habits like getting enough sleep, eating enough nutrients, moving our bodies, and staying hydrated. These pillars of health go hand-in-hand when promoting a healthy lifestyle. Devices such as the PÜL® SmartCap take the guesswork out of the equation when integrating healthy habits into our daily lives. It reminds us to engage in healthy behaviors that are often overlooked. The ease of obtaining these measurements makes this new technology attractive for sustainable, long-term lifestyle changes.