When my youngest child began playing sports, we noticed her face and upper torso would get bright red, and she rarely sweats. Her grandmother is the same way; we assumed she was taking after her. Till a trip to the doctor told us how wrong we had been.
This story has a happy ending, but for many, when a body is in this state, it can quickly lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
What we didn’t realize was that she was extremely dehydrated. When the doctor told us this, I was surprised. I said, “She never says she is thirsty.” This is when I learned that if a person is thirsty, they are already dehydrated.
When our bodies do not have enough water, we lose the capacity to sweat; sweating is how our bodies cool down. Without the ability to sweat, our body temperature rises, leading to dangerous complications.
Keeping cool is only one part of the importance of water consumption and what our bodies do with the water. And it is not just athletes that require more water in their diets.
Staying hydrated is critical for maintaining a healthy balance in our body fluids. Water lubricates our joints and protects tissue such as the spinal cord and the eyes.
Water also assists in carrying nutrients to our cells and aids the digestive system.
Waste removal relies heavily on water to eliminate toxins, allowing the kidneys to filter waste while preventing kidney stones.
On a cellular level, water enables energy production, supports cell structures, and supports the functioning of enzymes. Although this sounds complicated, what is important is knowing our bodies need water from our heads to our toes.
Dehydration can sneak up on you in many ways. Mild headaches, dry eyes, joint pain, stomach aches, muscle cramps, and dry mouths are some ways our body cries out for water.
While electrolytes benefit athletes during times of excess stress on their bodies, most of us can stay adequately hydrated with a healthy diet and plenty of water.
Water is vital to the healthy functioning of nearly every body system. While the recommended daily water intake varies on different factors, a quick guideline is 64 ounces (8 cups) of water daily for adults.
Water is essential to all life forms, including humans. Take a step towards a healthier you by drinking more water today.