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  • Susan Koursaris, NTP, BCHN®

All About Hydration: How Getting Enough Water Affects Energy

Ever feel stiff and achy when you wake up in the morning? Find yourself dragging and in need of a solid nap by 3pm? This week we focus on how hydration affects our body’s energy.

Did you know that if your body’s water content drops by as small as 2%, early signs of dehydration will occur? Guess what’s the first sign your body gives when it is dehydrated.

You got it. Fatigue.

Other early signs include thirst (well, duh!), dry mouth, amber colored urine, cravings, muscle cramping, anxiety (seriously?!), headaches/ migraines, poor memory and concentration. WOW! These symptoms may not seem like they are related, but rest assured, adequate hydration can keep symptoms like these at bay!

Chronic signs of dehydration get a little more serious and include heartburn, joint and/or back pain, constipation, colitis, and exercise asthma.

While good digestion has a TON to do with optimizing our energy levels, adequate hydration is equally fundamental to keeping it up. Optimal intake of quality water enhances blood viscosity thereby improving circulation and nutrient delivery to cells. It also allows for proper detoxification via elimination pathways (or helps our bodies “take out the trash”), improves digestion, and lubricates joints. I’m getting thirsty just thinking about all these great benefits!

Our fast-paced lifestyles, and tendency to use energy drinks or coffee to boost our vigor, further dehydrates and distracts us from our bodies’ signals that point to the simple act of drinking water. Diuretics such as alcohol, caffeine, and juice increase our urine output, so it’s even more important to up water intake when consuming these types of drinks.

‘How much water should I be drinking?’ you may ask. Well, one of the amazingly refreshing truths about our bodies is that it is a bio-individual need- meaning that you and I differ on our needs as our environments, genetics, age, activity levels, are different and dictate the certain amount of water that works for us. Rather than use a blanket number, there are less stringent, common-sense ways to gage whether you are getting enough water. Try to aim for:

· Straw- or light-colored urine

· Increasing your water intake 12-24oz per day to see how you feel

· Consuming half your body weight in oz. This is a good, daily goal to strive for.

Finding yourself fatigued? Try increasing your water intake and see how it can improve your energy!

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