Where’s My Water?

Bottles of water line grocery store shelves. Photo courtesy of Whiteman Air Force Base.

Bottles of water line grocery store shelves. Photo courtesy of Whiteman Air Force Base.

One of the phrases that students athletes hear most often is, “Drink water and stay hydrated,” but few take it seriously. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field, the effects of dehydration are detrimental to students academic and athletic performance.

Dehydration is the result of the body not having enough fluids or electrolytes. According to “New Vision” newspaper, although dehydration may be easy to recover from, long-term effects can develop and cause serious health problems in the future.

Causes, Symptoms, and Effects

Common symptoms of dehydration include dizziness or fainting, fatigue and dark-colored urine. The risk of dehydration is higher when you’re exposed to the sun and heat or are sweating.

Most people know that the highest risk for dehydration comes from not drinking enough water. An average male is recommended to drink about 15 cups of water per day, while women are recommended 11 cups, according to Mayo Clinic.

Causes are not just limited to lack of fluids but also to dehydration-inducing drinks and foods. The “Huffington Post” reports that the over-consumption of caffeinated drinks and protein may leave you dehydrated. Athletes may want to think twice when considering protein-rich foods vs. staying hydrated.

With the symptoms of dehydration being one thing, the effects of prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with your mental cognition and other bodily functions, according to CNN Health. Short-term memory loss, concentration problems and an irritable or anxious mood are some mental effects caused by dehydration.

“New Vision” explains how increased heart rate is an effect of the heart trying to maintain and elevate blood pressure with lack of water. Heart strain is a main contributor to heart failures.

Water lubricates and cushions joints, making it easier to move during physical activity and lessen cramps and sprains, according to MindBodyGreen.com. Lack of water may also result in less endurance and energy.

Many mistaken a headache caused by dehydration for a fatigue or cold headache and take pain-killers. The problem there is that when we suppress our mind’s call for thirst, we don’t answer the call to drink water.

Being hydrated has been shown to reduce the intensity and duration of headaches.

Stay Hydrated

Although it may be difficult to drink 11 to 15 cups of water a day, an effort must be made. Integrate water into your daily life by carrying around a personal water bottle and eating water-rich vegetables.

Pay attention to the even the smallest signs, such as thirst. Although you may not be completely thirsty, a dry mouth can be the start of dehydration.

Greatist.com recommends drinking seven to 10 ounces of water every 20-30 minutes. For the student athletes out there, sports drinks are specially catered to replenishing electrolytes lost when you sweat.