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A glass of water helps us face day to day life

After the summer, activities resume: study, work, physical activity. Here is why proper hydration helps us face them better

MILAN – Whether you are studying, doing sport, or working, it is essential to maintain a good level of hydration to improve physical and mental performance and to feel good. Here are the advantages of drinking enough and consistently throughout the whole day.

Intellectual activities

The brain makes up 2% of the weight of the body, but 20% of all blood flow is directed to it. When we encounter dehydration, the volume of the blood in the body is reduced and this compounds the risk that the quantity of blood reaching the brain and transporting oxygen and nutrients will also be reduced. A loss of fluids amounting to 1-2% of one’s bodyweight, from around 500 ml to around 2 l, can bring with it a sense of fogginess, loss of concentration and increased tiredness. Staying properly hydrated can mitigate such annoyances and this is essential, especially when studying and when a concentration effort is required.

In the workplace

Heavy burdens, stress and travelling can influence the normal metabolism of the human body and increase the loss of fluids, even when we are not physically perspiring. In fact, it is a myth that fluids are only lost through perspiration: this is not quite so clear-cut if you are working in an office. In fact, in these circumstances, the atmosphere with its low water content can increase water loss from the lungs through the skin. Such losses must constantly be recovered through correct water intake, through water and food which have a high water content, in order to avoid to negatively affect the performance and the spirit, which are key factors in an office.

Physical activity

During physical exercise, drinking should be a constant activity; the frequency of which, however, will depend on many factors, such as the intensity and the duration of the exercise, the atmospheric conditions and also the physical characteristics of each person, e.g. bodyweight and the individual’s typical levels of perspiration. Prolonged exercise which brings dehydration to the level of just 1% of one’s bodyweight will cause an increase of body temperature , which is a consequence both of reduced perspiration and of blood flow reduction to the skin. A loss of body fluids greater than around 2% induced by exercise has demonstrated altered performance in numerous physical and mental performance tests. Finally, children and adolescents may be particularly at risk of compromising their cognitive functions (concentration, attention span and short term memory) due to insufficient hydration.

by editorial staff