Day to Day Hydration
We all understand the importance of hydration while out training as well as competing - whatever the sport or discipline. There is a ton of material written on how dehydration negatively impacts performance - including past articles on this site. The purpose of this segment of Building a Better Athlete is to talk about the importance of day to day hydration and how it impacts our well being - setting us up for success in not only athletics, but in life.
We all know those folks who drink zero water. Zero. I must confess that for many years in between my collegiate days and now, I was one of them. Wrapped up in corporate "go, go, go" coupled with a new baby, my died consisted of primarily coffee, red bull, and Advil. There certainly was not time to fill a water bottle. In the moment, you do not realize what water can do for you and how proper hydration can not only make you feel better but put you in a better state of mind. Without getting into the details behind it, though you can click this link and check out the abstract, being dehydrated just 2% can impair tasks that require attention, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills. That seems reason enough. If that does not convince you to down the closest bottle of H2O then know that the performance of long-term and working memory tasks and executive functions is limited, especially if the cause of dehydration is moderate physical exercise. Huh.
Ok, I know what you are thinking, it's just water. We hear all the time that our bodies are made up of x% water but do you know what happens when you drink water? Where does it go? Well, water is needed by each of your cells so that they can perform their assigned function effectively. In the bloodstream, water is needed to carry oxygen and nutrients to the other parts of your body as well as transport waste products out. In your kidneys, water is needed to carry those waste products to your bladder. You can check out in much more detail than I can describe exactly what happens when you drink water here.
Physicians are utilizing hydration levels as an indicator of impaired cognition. Also, dehydration has also been shown to be a reliable predictor of increasing frailty, deteriorating mental performance, and poor quality of life. It amazes me that something as simple as dehydration is limiting us from achieving to our fullest potential. Well, I not only want to be able to perform in athletic competition, but I want to be at my best in every part of life. I believe that you do to. So lets raise a bottle of your water of choice and lets get hydrated!
For more information about the effects of dehydration and cognitive function, check out some of these studies: