Stressed? Headaches? Here’s the Surprising Reason You Might Not Be Feeling Well
Water—it is essential to life and wellbeing. Without it, or with suboptimal levels of it, you won’t function properly. While dehydration can occur any time of the year, most people are more aware of it during the hot summer months. Your body is the perfect indicator, giving signs that you need to increase your water intake to keep you healthy and strong. But some symptoms are less obvious than others, so here’s a compiled list to help keep you hydrated this summer.
Dry skin. As your body’s largest organ, skin is a great way to gauge your water intake. In fact, some of the earliest indicators of dehydration present themselves on your skin. When you don’t have enough water in your body, you stop sweating. When you don’t sweat, your skin begins to dry, which can all happen rather quickly, so use this to your advantage and grab some more water.
Dry eyes. Just like your skin, when you don’t drink enough water, your eyes will start to dry out. Severe dehydration can also impede your ability to produce tears, which leads to dry, red, burning eyes.
Joint pain. Your joints also suffer when your water intake is inadequate. Materials such as cartilage and ligaments are roughly 88% liquid, and water helps naturally lubricate joints to keep you moving effortlessly and pain-free. If you don’t have enough water in your system, your joints can become painful with movement.
Fatigued and lethargic. When dehydrated, your body will actually start to slow down in order to conserve precious resources. Water acts as your body’s fuel, and when you’re starting to run low, you will experience sleepiness and fatigue.
Decreased urine output. The average person should be visiting the restroom 4-7 times a day minimally. If you aren’t, you’re more than likely dehydrated. Also, urine color is a good indicator; the darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.
Headaches. A headache, especially a lasting or recurring one, can indicate inadequate water consumption, particularly when combined with one or more of the other symptoms of dehydration.
Hunger. Most people don’t realize that hunger pain can actually signal a need for water, not necessarily a need for food. Your body will try to tell you as gently as possible when it needs more water, and sometimes it does so by increasing your hunger. Try sipping water before reaching for a snack.
Lackluster workouts. We’ve all been there: the workout sessions that seem to drag on, the yoga poses that are suddenly impossible, the weights you can’t lift even though you just did the week before. Your body, including every muscle, tendon, ligament, and blood cell, run off of water. You can’t operate at maximum capacity without it and your exercise regimen will suffer because of it.
Stressed. Surprisingly, dehydration can actually increase stress hormone output. In fact, some experts believe that dehydration is one of the main causes of stress to begin with. Even a mild dehydration of 2-4% can raise cortisol levels, which is one of the body’s key stress hormones.
Next time you’re feeling even one of these symptoms, think about reaching for a drink as your first line of defense. Tired of plain, boring water? Try some of these great infusion recipes! Have a happy, healthy, and hydrated summer!