Although New Year's is long gone, it is still important to create better habits that can be beneficial to our own health and fitness. While working out, losing weight, and gaining muscle may be some of the top resolutions that appear on may peoples list, some often need to consider the resolution and idea of "staying hydrated."
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, drinking enough water each day can be beneficial and critical for many reasons - including to regulate body temperature, keep the joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to the cells, and keep the organs functioning properly. Staying hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognitive abilities, and overall mood! Experts from the Harvard School of Public Health suggest that on average, women should be drinking up to 11 cups of water a day while men should be drinking up to 15 cups of water daily.
While these facts may be true to most cases, it is important to know that other factors can contribute to that number. The amount of water you drink can vary depending on the temperature and climate depending on where you are, your activity levels, even the medication you are taking. All of these things can heighten and change your risks of dehydration. Those are just small things to be aware of, most people are still not getting enough water.
Why Am I Dehydrated But Not Thirsty?
With this being said, most people assume that just because they aren't thirsty, they aren't hydrated. However, that isn't always the case. Many researchers have shown that by the time you are actually thirsty, you are usually dehydrated already. If you often question why you may be dehydrated but not thirsty, here is a mini guide of some unusual signs to look out for if you think you are dehydrated:
If you are not drinking enough and aren't supplying your body with the fluids and water it needs, it is harder for your salivary glands to work. According to John Higgins (MD), a professor at the University of Texas and the chief of cardiology at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, "if you aren't producing enough saliva, you can get bacterial overgrowth within your mouth that causes bad breath. The drier your mouth, the more effective the bacteria becomes. When properly hydrated, your salivary glands produce enough enzymes and minerals in your saliva to constantly coat the palette making it harder for the bacteria to grow.
Dehydration is often linked and matched with muscle cramps and soreness, but it can often take a major toll on your joint health. According to David Williams, a biochemist, medical researcher, and chiropractor, our joints have a gel-like liquid inside that allows for cushioning, lubrication, and shock absorption. The joints need to stay completely hydrated in order for these processes to work properly. The process can be extremely more difficult if you tend to drink substances that are actually diuretics, which can be anything from coffee to teas, to alcohol or soft drinks. These actually draw out liquids from your system and cause you to be more dehydrated.
Fever And Chills
Fever and chills are another symptom that often comes with dehydration or heat related illnesses. You may profusely sweat while your skin is cool to the touch! Fever can actually increase the effects of dehydration, as the higher your fever, the higher rate of dehydration you are. It is essential to make sure your body temperature decreases, making sure your skin does not lose it clamminess and becomes warm and dry to the touch. At that point, it is critical you cool off your body. Applying ice and cool-wet clothes can be an effective strategy while you wait to see a medical professional.
Food Cravings - Especially Sweets
If you are craving something sweet, or if you have cravings for food in general, you may actually be dehydrated but don't feel thirsty. Dehydration activates both hunger and thirst responses within the brain. If that need for food or hydration comes up right after a workout, it may actually be due to the depletion of glycogen in your body, or the carbohydrates that are store in your muscle. This is why you might often crave carbs or something sugary after your workout. Try drinking more water to ensure you are staying hydrated and healthy!
Other Signs To See If You Are Dehydrated But Not Thirsty
As we said, you can be dehydrated but not thirsty. Here are two ways to see whether or not you're dehydrated:
- Try This Skin Test : Use two fingers to pinch your skin, doing so on the back of your hand is the easiest. When you let go, notice how quickly your skin springs back into its normal position. If it returns to its natural shape more slowly than usual, it could be a sign of dehydration.
- Check For Dry or Flush Skin : A lot of people assume that when you are dehydrated, you can get really sweaty. In reality, your skin can go through different phases within the dehydration process, and can get rather dry.
Ways To Remain Hydrated
When it comes to your daily fluid intake, it is normal to just stick to the tried-and-true water. If you want to try to spice up your fluid-intake, try these tips:
- Try Dressing Up Your Water - try adding fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries with herbs like basil, lemongrass, or mint. You can also try going for a naturally-flavored seltzer that comes in a load of flavors that can mix and match with your tastes and preferences.
- Turn To Sugar-Free Herbal Teas - if you still want the added bit of caffeine, try a sugar-free herbal tea to satisfy your cravings. Not only do they come in a variety of flavors, but teas have loads of benefits that can be very critical in ensuring a healthier lifestyle and diet.
With these tips and tricks on to tell whether or not you are dehydrated, it is important to also get advice from certified medical practitioners. If you find the symptoms to worsen or remain, seek medical advice immediately.