At your job, you are always looking for ways to perform better and more efficiently while you work. But did you know there are some people who may not be performing at their best because they are mildly dehydrated? For these people to avoid dehydration it can be as simple as knowing their proper hydration level and paying attention to their thirst.
The scientific evidence between cognitive performance and dehydration, although limited, is strong, and continues to grow. A recent survey conducted by GfK Roper on behalf of The Coca-Cola Company, indicated that employed Americans are informed about the merits of staying hydrated, yet many are not putting this knowledge into practice.
About three in four, or 73 percent of those surveyed, said that drinking sufficient fluids throughout the day to maintain proper hydration is essential to being able to concentrate during the day — as many as who said getting a good night’s sleep is essential. Yet surprisingly, 31 percent of those surveyed, especially those who work outdoors, also admitted to deliberately drinking less than they would like while at work to avoid having to take bathroom breaks, therefore overriding thirst signals.
“In a world where many people are consistently trying to juggle a hectic work schedule, people may sometimes override thirst signals and, thus, become mildly dehydrated, which can affect a person’s ability to perform at his or her best,” says Maxime Buyckx, M.D, director of nutrition and health sciences for The Coca-Cola Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness.
Dr. Buyckx notes that such common things as feeling fatigued, lack of focus or concentration, headaches, sleepiness and infrequent bathroom breaks could be signs of mild dehydration, but may be overlooked or attributed to other daily factors in a person’s life. It is unknown what percentage of people in the workplace in fact become dehydrated to this extent, but people who have a pronounced feeling of thirst are likely to be mildly dehydrated. “It’s easy to ignore these signs or attribute them to a busy working environment or personal life. But if people paid just a little bit more attention to these signals their bodies are giving them and made sure to maintain proper hydration, it may help them to be at their best during the day.”
“Your body is constantly losing water through simple acts such as breathing, perspiration and going to the bathroom,” adds Dr. Buyckx. “More is lost through daily activities, especially strenuous exercise or working in high temperatures. So it’s important that it be replaced.”
Many types of liquids help keep the body hydrated. The myth that caffeine causes dehydration is just that, a myth. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, all beverages, including those with caffeine, contribute to hydration needs. One example is the popular soda Diet Coke, which is made of 99 percent water.
By visiting www.MakeEveryDropCount.com, you can learn more about hydration and tips that will help you stay healthy. Consider these ideas:
* Determine your daily hydration needs. Consider factors like age, gender, weight, environmental conditions and activities. On the site there is a Hydration Calculator to help you determine how much you need to drink each day to feel and perform at your best.
* Choose beverages that you enjoy. Several studies show that adults consume about 45 to 50 percent more liquid when it’s flavored. Be sure to incorporate no- and low-calorie options to control calorie intake.
* Eat more fruits and vegetables. They tend to have a high water content, which makes them a great option for helping to meet individual hydration needs.
* Don’t exclusively rely on thirst. By the time you are thirsty, chances are mild dehydration has already set in. Hydrate throughout the day. Try keeping a water bottle or beverage in your vehicle, at your desk, in a cooler or wherever you will be reminded to drink. Take regularly scheduled beverage breaks; ideally at least one break per hour.
* If your job involves traveling, pay special attention to fluid intake on the airplane. High altitudes tend to have low humidity, which increases water loss through the skin and decreases the sensation of thirst.
Proper hydration can help you be at your best throughout the day. Make sure to select the right beverages for your dietary needs and lifestyle.