Hydration & Cellular Activity
Water is the most important nutrient for humans. While we can be deficient in many aspects of health and stay alive for sometimes months, the human body will only survive days without water. Even if someone goes a full 24 hours without water, there will be dramatic side effects. A human is mainly composed of water, almost two-thirds of the body, and is vital to the many cellular processes that occur. From cell structure, to energy mobilization, and even vital organs, all human lives need water to make us, well, function! Our joints and spine rely on water for fluid to provide lubrication, as well as our eyes for vision, and of course it is vital to maintain and regulate body temperature.
Hydration is very important especially for those who exercise regularly. While normal humans should try to consume at least 4L of water daily, people who are very physically active need to increase their intake of water above minimum standards (Sizer, et. al. 2015). Proper hydration is especially important for individuals who compete in endurance events, perform long bouts of exercise, or who work outdoors in hot temperatures.
Consuming water regularly is vital to maintaining proper bodily functions. While we might not feel thirsty, we can still become dehydrated. Some mild effects can be weakness, lack of energy, light-headedness, but serious symptoms like seizures, irregular heart rate, and coma can occur and can be fatal (Sizer, et al. 2015). Make sure to have at least 500mL 1-2 hours before your training or work regimen, and keep taking small sips every 10-15 minutes or more frequently if you are still thirsty (Sizer, et al. 2015).
Research has shown that dehydration can cause significant impairment and decreased performance in endurance events, such as cycling (Adams et. al. 2018). What is also important is to maintain hydration levels not just before your training or event, but also during training and after. There is evidence to support that regular hydration reduces fluid loss, maintains and helps blood plasma (VonDuvillard et. al. 2004), and prevents potential serious side-effects, such as elevated temperatures and vision problems (Ikemura et. al. 2018)
There are many foods that are rich in water and can help to contribute to your total daily intake. Most vegetables are over 90% water, so having a large amount of vegetables daily is a great way to ensure you are staying hydrated. Green vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, kale, and cucumber are almost entirely water, as well as other vegetables such as carrots, squash, tomato, being over 90% water (Sizer, et al. 2015).
Always remember to drink water, even if you are sedentary. We all need to have water regularly, and many individuals simply forget to do so. Try to limit your coffee to 2-3 cups daily and also remember to drink water alongside your coffee. Individuals who drink water regularly are half as likely to develop potential cancers as those who don’t (Sizer, et al. 2015). Remember, WATER IS LIFE, and there is truly no better substitute to keep your body hydrated. Your body and mind both depend on it!
Duvillard, S. P., Braun, W. A., Markofski, M., Beneke, R., & Leithäuser, R. (2004). Fluids and hydration in prolonged endurance performance [Abstract]. Nutrition,20(7-8), 651-656. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2004.04.011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15212747
Adams, J., Sekiguchi, Y., Suh, H., Seal, A. D., Sprong, C. A., Kirkland, T. W., & Kavouras, S. A. (2018). Dehydration Impairs Cycling Performance, Independently of Thirst [Abstract]. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,1. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000001597. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/publishahead/Dehydration_Impairs_Cycling_Performance,.96965.aspx
Adams, J., Sekiguchi, Y., Suh, H., Seal, A. D., Sprong, C. A., Kirkland, T. W., & Kavouras, S. A. (2018). Dehydration Impairs Cycling Performance, Independently of Thirst [Abstract]. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,1. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000001597. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29520564
Sizer, F. S., Piché, L. A., & Whitney, E. N. (2015). Nutrition: Concepts and controversies (3rd ed.). Toronto, Ontario: Nelson Education.