Dehydration is more than just being thirsty. Without sufficient water intake, your cells get congested, your bladder and kidneys can’t eliminate toxins properly, and your skin suffers. You feel tired and lazy. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. But if you think you may be dehydrated, check out the following telltale signs. If you experience any of them on a regular basis, you probably need to increase your water intake.
- Unexplainable Daytime Fatigue - You don’t get it: You had a full eight hours and you still feel really tired during the day. If this is the case, you probably haven’t had enough water. Try drinking water throughout the day, starting in the morning and continuing through the evening. No need to chug a gallon at a time. A glass here and there adds up quickly. You may be surprised when your energy levels return to normal.
- Muscle Cramping - Because your muscles need water and tense up when you don’t get enough, getting charley horses or side stitches means that your body temperature can’t be regulated (water regulates it) so your muscles respond by overheating, leading to sometimes painful cramps. Prevent cramping by getting enough water daily, not just on days you exercise.
- You Can’t Focus - At work, you seem to start a project or task and get distracted. Research shows that losing even two percent of your body weight from water (which isn’t much!) affects your decision-making abilities and hand-eye coordination. So not only do you get distracted, you may not be able to type as quickly or make decisions on your feet. Why risk messing up at work? Bring a water bottle and drink it throughout the day.
- Your Athletic Performance Is Affected - You forget to bring water to the gym or on a long hike. That’s ok, right? No, it’s not. You won’t be able to work out as hard or tolerate heat (if you’re working out outdoors) as you usually do. A decline in athletic endurance or even in the amount of weight you can lift can be attributed to dehydration, so keep that water bottle close by!
- Lack of Urination - If you don’t go to the bathroom at least two to three times a day, you either have a steel bladder or you’re dehydrated. It’s probably the latter. Lack of urination may be convenient, but it’s a red flag that you’re not getting enough water. And your body can’t get rid of waste, which can lead to bladder and kidney infections. When you use the bathroom, urine should be a light lemonade yellow. Anything too dark means you need to drink up.