Getting the recommended 64 ounces of water per day is crucial for maintaining optimal health — especially when you live at higher altitude. At just over 6,000 feet above sea level, life in Colorado Springs seems to require further hydration than most places. Even if you’ve been at Colorado College for years and feel at home with the elevation, you are still susceptible to the effects of dehydration.
The human body is comprised of about 60 percent water; the brain and heart, two of the most crucial organs, are made up of 73 percent water. The water we consume supports and facilitates nearly every bodily function. So what happens to our bodies when we don’t drink enough?
Ever hear the saying, “If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated”? Whether or not it is true, avoiding dehydration is always a good idea. Being dehydrated can include experiencing headaches and migraines, aching muscles, dry skin, dark circles forming under the eyes, and feeling sluggish, just to name a few symptoms. Anyone at CC coming from sea level is probably all too familiar with those initial post-plane ride headaches. Additionally, dehydration has negative effects on seemingly irrelevant aspects of the body. According to Business Insider AU, “Research shows that as little as one percent dehydration negatively affects your mood, attention, memory and motor coordination.” Water is also responsible for keeping metabolism in check; popular website mindbodygreen explains that hunger can often mask dehydration, leading you to crave sweets when you are really just thirsty.
Colorado poses specific issues for dehydration. Elevation Hydration explains that the especially dry air in Colorado can mislead people, “[making] it difficult to truly gauge hydration levels.” The more your body sweats, the more water you need to replenish it with. However, because the air is so dry in the southwest, you may not feel like you are sweating as much as you actually are when you exercise. This discrepancy may lead people to under-hydrate at a time where they need extra hydration the most.
If you aren’t drinking enough water on a daily basis but don’t feel particularly negative effects, just remember that your organs, blood stream, digestion, and all of their functions can be parched without your mouth feeling dry. Drink water frequently — don’t wait until you desperately need to chug. A simple way to sneak more water into your day, in addition to what you drink, is to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet. The majority of common grocery store fruits, like strawberries, apples, and oranges, are more than 70 percent water.
Water is essential, and thankfully, we have access to filtered water stations all around campus. So, for the sake of your body and mind, go fill up your re-usable water bottle!