We all know how important it is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated but do we know why? Water is our bodies secret weapon and while we know its important, we often forget to prioritise it. Without adequate hydration our body struggles to maintain peak physical and mental performance.

45-50% of body weight in females is water and 50-60% bodyweight in males. While the human body has been shown to survive up to 40 days without food however without water the body will survive at maximum a week. Luckily for us this is an unlikely situation to find yourself in but there are other reasons why hydration is important. Reviews have shown that an endurance athlete with as little dehydration as 2.5% of their overall bodyweight can reduce work capacity by 30% and as much as 45% for high intensity performances. These are huge numbers and just shows how important drinking water really is.

4 main reasons dehydration can have adverse effects on your physical and mental performance can be summarized as:

Reduction in blood volume
– can cause an increase in blood pressure. This occurs as dehydration reduces blood volume, your body has to compensate by retaining more sodium in the blood. When the blood becomes more concentrated and thicker it is more difficult to circulate causing your heart to work harder

Decreased sweat rate
– Sweat is one of the ways our bodies regulate temperature and is made up of 95% water. When you cannot effectively regulate temperature, you are putting yourself at ris of heat stroke or heat exhaustion

Decreased heat dissipation
– Dehydration limits cardiovascular and themoregulatory responses. This leads to an increase in core temperature.

Increased rate of muscle glycogen
– Muscle glycogen concentration decreases during prolonged exercise or athletic activity. Glycogen serves as a form of energy storage. Depleting glycogen contributes to muscle fatigue.

What are some signs I may be dehydrated?

• Thirst
• Dry skin
• Fatigue and weakness
• Increase body temperature,
• Muscle cramping
• Headaches
• Nausea
• Darked coloured urine
• Dry mouth nose or eyes.

Water is our bodies secret weapon and while we know its important, we often forget to prioritise it. If you are struggling to stay healthy, have energy and think more clearly check yourself and if you are drinking enough water throughout the day.