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Brain Health, Dehydration and Extreme Heat

Exercise and dehydration

Did you know that poor hydration can impair your brain’s function?  

Dehydration impacts physical health and brain health. Your body is approximately 65% water and is very sensitive to the effects of dehydration. We are all susceptible to dehydration during extreme heat and the impact can happen quickly. Even brief periods of dehydration – as little as two hours – can affect your brain and your body. This is particularly important during periods of excessive heat.

Anyone, regardless of age – although the very young and very old are more likely to become dehydrated can suffer the negative side effects of dehydration, particularly if you regularly exercise, work outdoors or work in an environment without a cooling system.

When dehydrated, you may notice your brain is sluggish with reduced mental energy and ability to think or reason drops on days when you haven’t had enough water or noncaffeinated beverages; caffeine acts as a diuretic and for each ounce of caffeine consumed you will need to drink an ounce of water to counteract this .

Dehydration can also make you more sensitive to pain and effect your memory. It can impact your ability to stay focused throughout the day which will reduce productivity.

The good news is you can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, preferably water, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment.

Tips to Stay Hydrated This Summer

  • Keep water or other noncaffeinated fluids nearby throughout the day. Water is the best option, as it doesn’t have extra calories that sports drinks do. Most of us, do not require extra electrolytes unless you have exercised more than an hour.
  • Certain foods with a high water concentrate such as watermelon, celery or carrots can help hydration, which is particularly helpful if you have trouble drinking water.
  • Your thirst level and the color of your urine are two ways to monitor hydration levels. Urine should be clear or slightly yellowish when well hydrated.

Ways to Exercise and Stay Hydrated

It’s important to exercise frequently and during periods of excessive heat, you may need to adjust how and when you exercise.

  • Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Be sure to drink 8 ounces of water prior to exercising, during exercise and after exercising.
  • If you choose to exercise outdoors, carry water with you and spritz yourself with cool water.
  • Exercise indoors in an air-conditioned space. Use a fan to help keep you cool.

Additional Helpful Information

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180821094153.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086