Hydration is one of the most important, yet forgotten, factors of living a healthy life. Our body is roughly 60% water and drinking is important to keep it that way. Severe dehydration is life threatening and hard to achieve if you are living in an area with access to clean water. However, chronic dehydration remains a big problem when it comes to our health. Besides reducing our energy levels and mental sharpness, being constantly dehydrated can reduce our metabolism and help us gain more weight over time.
It's very easy to go days without drinking enough water, the body responds by protecting the systems that are crucial to your survival such as the heart, however this happens at the expense of other non-essential systems/organs such as your skin, muscles etc. Your body's metabolism will start to slow down and other areas will start displaying symptoms. Here are 7 common signs and side-effects of dehydration.
1) You feel hungrier than usual
If you are ever constantly hungry between meals it could be that you are dehydrated. The body will often send hunger signals when dehydrated. If this is the case, try drinking 2 cups of water between meals and monitor your hunger. Cold water also slightly speeds up your metabolism.
2) You have frequent headaches
Dehydration will affect your brain and can result in headaches that can be solved with simply drinking more water. Although there are many other causes of headaches, dehydration is one of the common ones. Next time you have a headache try drinking more water.
3) You experience pain in your joints especially when exercising
Water is very important for joints such as your elbows and knees. Your body produces a lubricant that allows the bones in your joints to move with no friction. If your body doesn't produce enough of that lubricant you will feel pain in your joints especially when exercising. Water is a crucial ingredient in the production of this important lubricant. Make sure you drink 300-500 ml before you exercise and keep drinking since you lose water during exercise.
4) Your skin and lips are constantly dry
This is one of the most common and immediate signs of dehydration. Your skin needs water to stay healthy and clean. Our skin is also the body's largest organ and so if we have a shortage of water our body will tend to save water by reducing the supply that goes to the skin. Remember the skin is not a crucial organ for body survival and the body has more important organs to reserve water for.
5) Low blood pressure
Dehydration can cause low blood pressure at times. Have you ever felt suddenly dizzy with slightly blacked out vision right after you quickly stand up after sitting down for a while? You could be dehydrated.
6) Decreased trips to the bathroom
This one is self-explanatory and a very important sign of dehydration. If you find your trips to the bathroom are decreasing and your urine too yellow then you are dehydrated. Dehydration is also a big cause for constipation.
7) Constant cramping and body aches while moving
Whether you are an athlete or simply playing for fun, dehydration will decrease your performance by a large percentage. Our muscles and cardiovascular system needs water to function at full capacity. Losing as much as 2-3% of your body weight in water during physical activity can significantly affect your performance. It can also cause frequent cramping and body aches.
Proper hydration has countless benefits for the body such as an increased metabolism, increased mental focus, faster muscle recovery, higher fat loss and much more. Make sure you drink at least 3 litres (Men) and 2.2 litres (Women) per day. This amount significantly varies depending on the level of your activity and the temperature you live in.
To a better you.
Mohamed Rezk, RD
Mohamed is an experienced and passionate Registered Dietitian who founded RNC in 2015 and is part of Cleveland Clinic Canada's team of experts working in the Executive Health Program. His expertise lies in designing the appropriate environment where his clients can transform their lifestyle and become better versions of themselves. Mohamed believes that the first step to growing in all areas of your life is building a lifestyle that is healthy for your mind and body. His programs has helped many people lose weight permanently and experience tremendous growth in their careers, relationships and quality of life.