We’ve all been told time and time again how important it is to drink water. We know the majority of our body is made of water and that hydration is crucial for daily functioning, but it is especially crucial for athletes. Those engaging in strenuous exercise or competition can see their performance suffer over time without adequate fluid intake. But what actually happens to your body when you get dehydrated?
Lowered Blood Pressure
Several things occur when the body does not get enough water. Since blood is about 93% water, it becomes thicker and causes your heart rate to increase because your heart must work harder. As a result, your blood pressure falls since each pump is moving less blood. Feeling faint or dizzy is a common symptom of low blood pressure. Nutrients require blood for transport so, with inhibited blood flow, your muscles, organs, and bones won’t receive adequate nutrition.
Another very important function of the body that is noticeably impacted by dehydration is digestion. Water is essential for creating saliva, stomach acid, and other gastric secretions to moisten and break down food. Athletes will notice how much more sluggish and fatigued they feel when their digestion isn’t functionally optimally. Toxins and waste remain backed up in your body rather than being eliminated efficiently.
Muscle Aches and Fogginess
For athletes, this means decreased strength and endurance from their bodies. Muscles ache longer from lactic acid build-up and don’t recover as quickly. It also means limited mental focus as blood supply to the brain is affected. Without rehydrating during physically demanding training and competition, athletes can expect to see a dramatic decline in their performance from even just 2-3% loss of body weight in fluids.
Some waste is removed from the body by sweating. Sweat is most imperative for temperature control, though, as any athlete knows. Without proper fluid intake, an athlete’s sweat glands will struggle to cool the body and can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses. This is especially concerning for athletes who are out in the hot summer months.
It is clear that every cell in your body is affected by hydration, from blood to muscles and organs to glands! For optimal performance as an athlete, preventing dehydration is key since recovery is far more difficult and time-consuming.
At 360 Chiropractic, we believe that your health is your greatest asset. Ensuring your body is well hydrated will reduce your risk of injury and fatigue and improve your overall performance.