Staying hydrated matters in order to stay sharp. Just two hours of vigorous yard work in the summer sun without drinking fluids could be enough to blunt concentration, according to a new study.
The study comes from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Cognitive functions often wilt as water departs the body, affecting the functions like attention, coordination and complex problem solving suffering the most. Activities like reacting quickly do not diminish much. As the researcher said:
“less fluid, more goofs.”
The result indicates that people may not perform well when dehydrated in attention-related tasks, like a long meeting, driving a car, a monotonous job in a hot factory. Dehydration could raise the risk of an accident, particularly in scenarios that combine heavy sweating and dangerous machinery or military hardware.
There’s no hard and fast rule about when exactly such lapses can pop up, but a lot of cases showed more severe impairments started at 2 percent fluid loss.
How much fluid loss adds up to 2 percent body mass loss?
If you weigh 200 pounds and you go work out for a few of hours, you drop four pounds, and that’s 2 percent body mass. With an hour of moderately intense activity, with a temperature in the mid-80s, and moderate humidity, it’s not uncommon to lose a little over 2 pounds of water.
If you do 12-hour fluid restriction, nothing by mouth, for medical tests, you’ll go down about 1.5 percent, twenty-four hours fluid restriction takes most people about 3 percent down.
Older people can dry out more easily because they often lose their sensation of thirst and also, their kidneys are less able to concentrate urine, which makes them retain less fluid. People with high body fat content also have lower relative water reserves than lean folks.