What’s the Big Deal with Hydration?
Getting the correct amount of hydration can be difficult for many of us. Often, we won’t drink water until thirst kicks in. If you wait that long your already dehydrated and now have to play catch-up. Remember the adage of drinking 8 cups of water a day? There is no real scientific data to support this claim, and everyone’s needs will be different. Tom Brady drinks insane amounts of water, so why shouldn’t we? In the following article, we will discuss the reasons for staying hydrated and what can go wrong with drinking too much.
Let the Peeing being
I have never been consistent with keeping optimal hydration. To remedy this, I recently bought a gallon jug of water with timed markers, complete with motivational quotes to help me drink more. The goal is simple, really. Finish it by the end of the day. The first week was pretty hilarious. My body needed to adapt to all of the water entering my system. This resulted in needed to go pee every 30 minutes or so. This worked like magic, though. The simplicity of it is genius. All the water I need for the day is in this one spot, and the task is to finish it. I now consistently drink a gallon a day without much effort. For anyone else looking to up their water intake, I highly recommend it. I use a Bottled Joy 1 Gallon Water Bottle. There are many different brands that come in a variety of colors to choose from.
Filling up your stomach with low-calorie dense foods like salad or fruit is one strategy that many people use to lose weight or stay in shape. Filling it up with water will serve this same purpose. When you fill-up the physical space of your stomach, it sends a signal to shut off the “hunger” hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is produced by the stomach when it is empty and is transported to a part of the brain that manages appetite. This doesn’t happen instantly, however. Understanding that you have to wait 20 minutes or so for those hunger pangs to subside can be helpful when trying to ward off unwanted snacking.
Joints are lubricated by something called synovial fluid. This is primarily made up of water. If you are super dehydrated, your joints will have less lubrication and will hurt. If you are the type of person that constantly lives in a state of dehydration and your joints hurt all the time, you might want to think of a solid hydration strategy. Bodybuilders and Wrestlers have to cut a tremendous amount of weight leading up to their respective competitions. A large portion of this weight comes from water. They become extraordinarily dehydrated during this process and notoriously have joint pain because of this. Be kind to your joints and improve your hydration.
Waste Removal and Blood Pressure
Toxins are a trigger word for me because they are so heavily misused by morons. I will use Waste and Toxins synonymously in this blog. The Kidneys and Liver process waste in the body. The Kidneys filter waste products out of the blood and excrete them via the urine. Without proper hydration, the kidneys cannot filter the waste efficiently, and some of it will continue to circulate the body in the blood leading to a buildup. Also, kidney stones can form when chronically dehydrated due to the urine being too concentrated. The liver breaks down harmful “toxins” circulating in the blood and secretes bile to help with fat digestion. Gallstones can form when dehydrated due to bile duct constriction.
High blood pressure can occur when chronically dehydrated as well. This happens because the brain sends a signal to the arteries to constrict. When the arteries constrict, the pressure in the whole system goes up. High Blood pressure leads to complications such as Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Failure, and Aneurysms. So do your spouse and kids a favor and start drinking water today!
The body is a very delicate system. It works hard to keep everything stable and in peak working order. Even a 2% reduction in total water leads to reduced physical performance. Studies have shown that dehydrated athletes lose reaction time, strength, power, and even decision-making suffers. Hydration is critical to athletic performance and, in my opinion, not emphasized enough. It’s basically a legal performance-enhancing drug. Get your kids to drink more water. It is not as simple as chugging a couple of bottles of water right before a game, either. It takes the body about 2 hours to integrate water into its organs and muscles after drinking it. Start with a strategy of eating a healthy meal coupled with 32oz of water about 2 hours before an athletic event.
When Too Much Hydration can be Harmful
Yes, being a moron and drinking too much water can be detrimental and even lead to death, as hard as this may sound. Sodium is an essential mineral used by all cells of the body. Along with Potassium, it regulates the amount of water in our cells. When it comes to drinking too much water, the danger occurs when there is too much water and not enough sodium in the system. When sodium levels drop due to excessive water consumption, fluids travel from the outside to the inside of cells, causing them to swell. This can cause the brain to swell, which can lead to death. However, this is an extremely difficult thing to do and can be avoided by not chugging gallons of water at a time.
The Bottom Line
- Filling up your stomach with water can help you feel full by suppressing your appetite.
- If your joints are hurting all the time, try being properly hydrated first.
- If you don’t want gall or kidney stones, try not being dehydrated all the time.
- Drinking 32 oz of water 2 hours before an athletic event can prevent dehydration and increase performance.
- Don’t be a moron and drink insane amounts of water at one time, or you will die.