Water is an integral part of our everyday lives. It is in the air we breathe, in the rivers and streams that flow. It is the greatest constituent in our bodies as well as the earth. Water is a top priority in our biological survival, next to breathing. Water in our bodies supports the cellular metabolism and functioning that is the very basis of our life. Since this is such an important topic in overall well-being and performance, let’s home in on a measurable metric of water intake and learn how to track proper hydration through your urine.
On a physiological level, dehydration occurs when water loss is greater than fluid intake. Water imbalances in the body directly affect cellular metabolism, which is the set of chemical reactions that occur throughout your body in order to maintain life. The body responds to water loss by decreasing urine output to conserve water supply and by constricting blood vessels to maintain functioning of your circulatory system.
Over time, dehydration can lead to increasing levels of stress on the body, mainly affecting your body’s ability to perform cellular metabolism as well as proper circulatory function.
General symptoms of dehydration include significant impairment of mental and physical performance, irritability, lethargy, headache, nausea and, in severe cases, vomiting as electrolytes become imbalanced.
Daily hydration is the very foundation for success. We perform at our best when we are at our best. We are at our best when our energy levels are up, our focus is up and our basic biological needs and functioning is met.
For proper daily hydration (called baseline hydration), aim for 0.5 to 0.6 ounces of water per pound of body weight, spread evenly throughout the whole day. If you’re an athlete of any sort, this baseline hydration is in stand alone to what you would drink while exercising. The majority of your hydration needs to come from pure, clean water, although adding a little lemon or apple cider vinegar to your water is a great tasting addition! Adding electrolytes from time to time is also useful.
Please keep in mind that hydration is super important, it is also something we can over do. We're going for consistency and balance here, not too much too often. If you notice any sign of too much, back off and give your body some time to adjust to the increased fluids. If you notice that you could use more, please go for it.
In the end, listen to and trust your body. And if you don't already, learn to listen and being to trust your body.
This is courageous work to begin to establish baseline hydration. We tend to be a digitally forward society and prefer busy-ness and productivity over our own basic biological needs.
I hope this information is useful and can be applied to your everyday life. My intention is help people reconcile our busy culture of dehydration and underhydration. It's way more common and 'normal' to drink coffee all day and sip booze in the evening, but drinking water throughout the day is proven to be the best choice you can make for yourself and your productivity.
Give it a try and just see what happens...