It may not sound cutting edge or state of the art but drinking water and staying hydrated throughout the day is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to boost mood, concentration and alertness. With so many people relying on caffeinated beverages or sugary drinks to get them through the day, we seem to have forgotten the simple health benefits found in a glass or two of water.
Research consistently shows impairments to mood, energy levels and ability to think clearly when an individual is dehydrated. If you are an exercise enthusiast, you may be well aware of the negative effect dehydration has on exercise performance. If sweat losses are not replaced during exercise, dehydration occurs which can result in impaired exercise performance.
The key message for everyone who doesn’t watch the sweat dripping off their nose on the treadmill or in a spin class is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re exercising or sitting at a desk – dehydration still impairs mood, concentration and health. There are many different avenues for water loss, sweating is just one of them. If you fail to drink sufficient amounts of fluid, even the most sedate individual will become dehydrated throughout the course of a day.
Research provides many different explanations as to how dehydration influences mood. It may be due to hydration levels in the brain, increased levels of stress hormones such as cortisol or changes in the way chemicals are transported to the brain. Mild dehydration can interfere with normal daily activities and reduces motivated to perform even moderate aerobic exercise. Boost your performance at work and health by drinking 2-3 litres of fluid each day and drink before, during and after exercise.