Dehydration adversely affects everyone but particularly women
“Dehydration affects all people, and staying properly hydrated is just as important for those who work all day at a computer as it is for marathon runners,” says Lawrence E. Armstrong, an international expert on hydration who has conducted research in the field for more than 20 years.
Even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly, according to two studies recently conducted by Armstrong at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory. Mild dehydration is defined as an approximately 1.5 percent loss in normal water volume in the body.
The test results affirm the importance of staying properly hydrated at all times and not just during exercise, extreme heat, or exertion. Armstrong says, “Our thirst sensation doesn’t really appear until we are 1 or 2 percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.”
Hydration Even More Important for Women
“Even mild dehydration that can occur during the course of our ordinary daily activities can degrade how we are feeling—especially for women, who appear to be more susceptible to the adverse effects of low levels of dehydration than men,” says Harris Lieberman, one of the studies’ co-authors and a research psychologist with the Military Nutrition Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. The research is unclear why dehydration appears to affect women more than men.
How to Hydrate
Most people only think about drinking water when they are thirsty; but by then it may already be too late. In order to stay properly hydrated, experts like Armstrong recommend that individuals drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, which is approximately 2 liters of water.
Most people know you can check your hydration status by monitoring the color of your urine. Here’s a primer: urine should be a very pale yellow in individuals who are properly hydrated; while urine that is dark yellow or tan in color indicates greater dehydration.
Carrying a reusable water bottle or coffee cup with you and refilling it at every opportunity can help you drink more water. The awareness is enough for some people; others set phone reminders or use tools like rubberbands or the Count Me Healthy Bracelet to check off the number of cups of water they’ve consumed during the day.
For tons of reuseable water bottle options, check out our Top Ten Water Bottles Pinterest board here.