Often times, when describing Neuro-Structural Correction to a patient, we’ll liken it to the alignment of a car. If there is a shift within the frame of the car, or a structural issue, secondary problems are likely to occur. Similarly, when there are structural shifts of the spine, secondary conditions are likely to arise. And, just like your car, your body also requires the proper fluid levels to operate efficiently.
Did you know that your body is mostly water; over 60 percent, in fact. Even the lightest of activities throughout the day can begin to deplete that percentage, leading to dehydration. This lack of fluids could ultimately lead to a lack of proper function of your body.
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
Indicators of dehydration include:
- light headedness/ dizziness
- dark urine (urine should be clear when properly hydrated)
- muscle cramps
One would also think that thirst would be a sign of dehydration, but it is a bad indicator. Most likely, fluid levels have been depleted for some time before someone becomes thirsty. The best way to fight dehydration is to drink water before you’re thirsty.
Hydration and Your Health
Since our bodies are mostly water, maintaining proper hydration is essential to optimal health. Decreased water intake could potentially lead to a variety of health problems that could affect every organ system, from your heart and lungs, to your skin, and even your brain and nervous system.
Some specific effects of chronic dehydration may include:
- High blood pressure
- Asthma & Allergies
- Skin disorders
- High cholesterol
- Bladder or kidney issues
- Digestive disorders/Constipation
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Weight gain
Keeping hydrated allows your heart to pump blood with less force through blood vessels and to the body so everything can work efficiently. It allows your lungs to expand and contract appropriately when you take a breath in and out. Maintaining proper fluid levels allows you to seat when you exercise, cooling your body when it’s needed. And, most importantly it can help your brain and nervous system function correctly by helping ensure the proper concentration of neurotransmitters, which the brain and nerve cells use to communicate.
Choosing the right Beverage
Many people believe that if you’re putting fluid into your body, you are helping to maintain proper hydration. While intensive exercise may require you to use a sports drink (which is best used diluted; 50% sports drink, 50% water), regular hydration is best achieved by drinking WATER. In fact, a goal to aim for is to drink half of you body weight, in ounces.
For example, if someone weighs 160 pounds, they should try to drink approximately 80 ounces of water each day.
Some beverages can actually lead to dehydration. These include alcohol and caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, soda). Beverages, such as these, are actually diuretics (they make you urinate) and therefore deplete the fluid levels of your body.
Choose the right Foods
As you may know, many foods contain high amounts of H2O. If you find it hard to guzzle water during the day, many fruits and vegetables can help fulfill your fluid requirements in addition to providing key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Fruits: watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe all have over 90% water content per volume.
Vegetables: cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, radish, celery, tomatoes, green cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage, peppers, spinach, and broccoli are all over 90% water by volume.
Keys to staying hydrated
Drink early, drink often, and drink after!
Drink early – if you are planning to work out, make sure you are drinking water well in advance of your activity (1-2 hours). And, remember you should drink water before you become thirsty.
Drink often – your body will function better if you take small drinks or sips of water rather than chugging a large amount all at once.
Drink after – no matter how hard you try to maintain fluid levels during a workout, or throughout the day, it is important to drink water after you finish an activity, or at the end of the day to ensure you are hydrated properly.
Proper hydration is essential to a properly functioning body. Follow these simple steps to help ensure optimal health.