Water is crucial to human life – only the oxygen we breathe is more important. Food, shelter, companionship; all come after water in terms of basic human survival. The human body is able to go long periods without any food, however only several days without water can pass by before facing fatal consequences. Our body is made up of around 70% water, and because it makes up such a large portion of our bodies, maintaining proper hydration levels is of the utmost importance.
Your body becomes dehydrated simply when you are emitting more water than you are taking in. Once in a state of dehydration, even mildly, the body begins to experience noticeable symptoms. Dehydration is serious and can lead to a potentially life-threatening emergency. As an athlete becomes dehydrated, heart rate increases, blood flow to the skin decreases, and body temperature can rise to dangerous levels.
Here are some signs to look out for:
The body relies on water for a number of purposes, including proper brain function, removing toxins and acid from the body, metabolizing fat, regulating body temperature, aiding in food digestion, increasing oxygen to the blood, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients to the cells.
The Institute of Medicine suggests that males should drink about 13 cups or 3.1 L of water per day and females need around 9 cups or 2.2 L. However this applies to a regular, generally sedentary individual. As an athlete, whether you compete in the Olympics, hit the gym regularly or participate in intermural sports, you may require significantly more than that. Think of this suggested amount as a baseline, and then on days that you are training or competing make sure to take in much more. This will ensure that you replace all lost fluids in order to maintain proper hydration so you can function at your true potential!
Here are some tips on proper hydration: