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I lay face down in the wrestling room next to a pool of sweat. The heat of the room combined with my fatigue made everything seem hazy. The layers of thick workout clothes were drenched, and I had another pound to sweat off in order to weigh 141 pounds for the tournament the day after. My wrestling partner at the time prodded me to drill with him in order to keep sweating. Standing up after executing each consecutive move seemed increasingly difficult. When it was clear that I was about to collapse, I worked my way over to the stationary bike and endured another painful five minutes.
Back in the locker room, I stepped on the scale. 140.8 pounds. Good enough. Finally, the suffering was over.
Or so I thought.
Packing up my red duffel bag for the tournament seemed to take more effort than usual. After what seemed like forever, I picked up my fully packed duffel bag and unknowingly spent twice as long as usual walking back to my dorm room. Sitting at my desk with my head down, I realized how chapped my lips were. “It would have been nice to have something to drink,” I thought.
It was still a bit early to go to sleep, and I pulled out some homework for the upcoming week. My head couldn’t seem to process any information. An hour later, staring at the same page from when I opened the textbook, I grew frustrated and went to sleep, which also proved challenging. Underneath my blanket, it was too uncomfortably hot. Without the blanket, I was freezing.
We made it to the gym the next day and finally weighed in for competition. In a college tournament, competition doesn’t start until two hours after weigh ins. Two hours to recover and hydrate, however, seemingly wasn’t good enough. On that day, neither was I.
I finished the day without winning a single match. After being eliminated from the tournament, I took my sweatshirt, laid on the ground, covered my face, and cried. The day was over, and I seemingly had nothing to show for my suffering.
Signs of Dehydration
Okay, that was rough. I swear there’s a point to all that though. See what dehydration does to you? Clearly, I was dehydrated, and while your situation may have been less extreme and painful than mine, here are a few symptoms that occur when you’re dehydrated.
- Mind feels unclear
- Body feels sluggish
- Dizziness, lightheaded feeling
- Inability to regulate temperature
- Negatively affected physical and mental performance (this hurts athletically, academically, and professionally)
Water Has Benefits Too
Now that I’ve painted a pretty depressing picture of dehydration, it’s time to point out some benefits to water. These include:
- Increased metabolism (and therefore fat loss)
- Body temperature regulation
- Increased alertness
- Optimal physical and mental performance
- Helps in the function of muscles and joints
- Healthier skin
- Regulates the liver and kidney function, which aids in the removal of toxins from the body
- Regulates immune response
- Helps with digestion
- Slows down the aging process
It affects just about every function in your body in some shape or form. Finally! A positive spin on things. I feel better now. Don’t you? No? Drink some water.
Now, the question is, how much water should you drink per day? This varies depending on the person and their lifestyle. If they exercise or sweat more, then more water is needed. Larger people need more water too (and this makes sense because there’s more body that needs regulating). In terms of the gold standard… if your pee looks golden, then chances are you’ve got a problem and/or you’re dehydrated. If your pee is clear, then you’re in the clear! Isn’t that easy to remember?
In more measurable terms, health authorities used to recommend 8 cups of water per day, or 64 fl oz (a little less than 2 liters).
According to webmd, 0.5 fl oz per lb of bodyweight is on the lower end and 1 fl oz per lb of bodyweight is on the higher end.
For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, then the amount of water you’d have to drink would be between 75 to 150 fl oz, which is higher than the previous recommendation. You really only need to drink on the higher end if you’re dripping in sweat after a workout and you live in a hot climate.
Try not to get thirsty!