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Get Hydrated, Get Productive: How Water Helps Your Performance at Work

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Get Hydrated, Get Productive: How Water Helps Your Performance at Work

We all have days where we feel sluggish, have trouble concentrating, and generally feel fatigued. When you feel low on energy, it can be a challenge just getting through the workday, let alone being productive while we are there. Though most people look to caffeine to solve the problem, once it wears off you will be back where you started, or possibly even in a worse position than before.

What’s the secret to keeping your energy up at work? The answer may surprise you.

All of the aforementioned symptoms could be a sign of dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your blood thickens. This thickening makes it more challenging for your heart to pump blood, and can produce feelings of extreme fatigue.

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Other symptoms of dehydration can include bad breath, headache, constipation, and irritability.

How Dehydration Affects Your Level of Productivity

The symptoms of dehydration can make it more challenging to focus, which can make any work tasks more difficult to complete successfully. Additionally, your level of alertness will fall, and your reaction times will slow.

While those symptoms may not be overly dangerous to an office worker, those working in industrial jobs can find that these symptoms increase the likelihood of an accident while decreasing cognitive function. In fact, if your level of dehydration reaches 3% or more, you may be impaired to the same level of someone who has a blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit.

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If you want to make sure that dehydration is not affecting your work performance, here are some easy ways to help make sure you get the water you need.

Keep a Water Bottle with You

The easiest way to stay hydrated is to simply drink enough water. The easiest way to make sure you get the amount you need is to keep a water bottle with you throughout the workday. Instead of using disposable water bottles, which can be expensive and harmful to the environment, consider getting a reusable one. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, it is also incredibly convenient and becoming more popular with business professionals.

To make sure you are getting enough water each day, plan on drinking enough water to fill the water bottle approximately twice during your work day. Those who work more physically demanding jobs or those working in high temperature environments may find that they require more to compensate for the water lost through sweating during the day.

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Eat the Right Snacks

Drinking water is not the only way to get the fluids you need. Many foods, especially fresh produce, contain a notable amount of water.  Cucumber is 96.7% water while radishes are 95.3% water. If you prefer a sweeter snack, consider certain fruits. Watermelon comes in at 91.5% water and star fruit is 91.4% water. Some other great options include spinach, grapefruit, baby carrots, and cantaloupe.

Foods should not be your primary source of hydration. Instead, consider them a supplement to the recommended water intake mentioned previously. If you want to let your food help you stay hydrated, consider eating smaller meals with regular snack breaks, allowing you to eat something every three to four hours; but make sure to include some water with every meal as well.

Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

Just as certain foods and drinks can be hydrating, others can make the symptoms of dehydration worst. While one of the worst offenders, alcohol, cannot usually be consumed at work, consuming alcohol the night before can leave you more dehydrated the next day.

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White asparagus has a large amount of aspartic acid, a natural compound that leads to dehydration. Foods with high salt content, such as cured meats and crisps, are naturally dehydrating, as well as fried foods and sugary drinks.

Stay Ahead of Dehydration

You are often mildly dehydrated before you have any symptoms. With that in mind, the best defense for fighting dehydration is to prevent dehydration from the beginning. By following the tips above, you will have a large number of tools at your disposal to help you stay hydrated all day, allowing you to not just feel better but to be more productive throughout the workday.

Featured photo credit: Priyanka Sharma via pixabay.com

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