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dehydration
mild dehydration
water volume
learning ability
energy levels
Dehydration Affects Cognition, Concentration And More: Drink Up And Calm Down
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Dehydration Affects Cognition, Concentration And More: Drink Up And Calm Down

If you are working out at the gym when suddenly you are overcome by an urge to push the radio off the shelf. Is it the music that is pushing your buttons? It is the random commercials for fast food while you are slogging along on the treadmill? Could it be dehydration that has caused your sudden angry outburst? According to a study by the University of Connecticut's Human Performance Lab, people who had mild dehydration, as little as a 1% dehydration, for example, were at a distinct risk for alterations to their mood, their energy levels as well as overall mental function.

Researchers used a series of cognitive tests meant to measure their vigilance as well as cognitive function, reasoning skills and their learning ability. After the first testing, the participants were asked to exercise at a moderate level without water and then brought back in for secondary testing to gauge the differences between the two sets of results.

Dehydration, especially in the young women, was likely to cause headaches, exhaustion and other issues. The women also had some difficulty with their concentration, unable to stay focused on even the most simple tasks. Women did not have decreased cognitive abilities. Men, however, were affected by dehydration differently than women, seeing an increase in difficulty in their mental tasks including those requiring concentration and memory. The men also had an increase in feelings of both anxiety and tension. They were also more likely to have problems with feelings of anger.

Women did have some similar alterations in their mood caused by dehydration however, they saw those alterations during exercise and while resting after they had finished exercising. Men had dehydration issues throughout the study.

Dehydration can occur, even without exercise, over the course of normal day to day activities. The average person loses 1.5% of their water volume which can also occur during sleep. Higher temperatures can increase the rate at which we lose our regular water volume and can increase the risk of dehydration. Exercise also increases the risk of dehydration even without visible sweating. Researchers also caution that feelings of thirst are delayed- if you are feeling thirsty, it is likely that you are already as much as two percent dehydrated. There is no set amount of water or liquids that is currently recommended because of the variations in body size and weight as well as activity level from person to person.

The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition for the month of February.


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