Are you frequently tired? Do you feel sluggish and moody, or find it hard to concentrate? Try drinking water, a lot of water. You might make more trips to the bathroom, but you can also reduce headaches, fatigue, limited concentration and moodiness. There were two studies done recently that found even mild dehydration, as little as a 1.5 percent loss of water volume, can cause all of the above issues, headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and adverse mood.
Two separate studies were done by the University of Connecticut’s Department of Kinesiology. One studying focused on dehydration in men and the other focused on dehydration for women; both studies followed the same protocol.
“The first study involved 25 healthy, active women in their early 20s, while the second study included 26 healthy, active males in their late teens and early 20s; both groups typically exercised 30 to 60 minutes per day. Three times over a four-week period, each participant was asked to walk on a treadmill to induce dehydration (the night before each evaluation, the individuals were well-hydrated). After each exercise bout, all participants were given a series of cognitive tests to measure concentration, learning, memory, reaction time, reasoning and vigilance, the results of which were compared to tests given when the subjects were not dehydrated.
“For the women’s study, the researchers concluded that mild dehydration caused headaches, fatigue and difficulty concentrating; the women also felt like the tasks were more difficult when they were slightly dehydrated, although their performance did not appear to be diminished.
“Among the men, mild dehydration appeared to make mental tasks involving memory and vigilance more difficult and, like the women, the young men exhibited signs of fatigue, tension and anxiety. However, according to researchers, adverse changes in mood and other symptoms such as fatigue and headaches were substantially greater in females than in males, both at rest and during exercise.” (ACE Certified News, 2012)
It was also concluded that dehydration has the same effect whether caused by intense exercise or simply not drinking enough water when sedentary. Even more serious, when someone is in a dehydrated state they are less likely to be motivated to exercise.
“In both sexes, these adverse mood changes may limit the motivation required to engage in even moderate aerobic exercise,” says study co-author Dr. Harris Lieberman. “Mild dehydration may also interfere with other daily activities, even when there is no physical demand component present.”
A good rule of thumb is to have a water bottle or source of water available to you at all times so you drink periodically instead of waiting to be thirsty. Unfortunately, the body’s thirst sensation doesn’t register until we are 1 to 2 percent dehydrated. At that point, dehydration is already starting to disrupt our mind and body performance. The recommendation is always the same, aim to consume at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day, or more if performing intense exercise or in extreme heat. It will improve your overall health and well-being!
Healthy, happy drinking! (Water, that is )
ACE Certified News: Feeling Cranky? Drink Up! Available: http://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/2410/feeling-cranky-drink-up/?utm_source=Certified%2BNews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=March%2B2012&utm_campaign=Certified%2BNews&CMP=EMC-CertifiedNews_0312. Last accessed 11th April 2012.
Armstrong, L.E. et al. (2012). Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. The Journal of Nutrition, jn.111.142000v1 142/2/382
Ganio, M.S. et al. (2011). Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men.British Journal of Nutrition, 106, 1535−1543.