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Hydration Important for Mood and Concentration

People tend to be cognizant of the need to stay hydrated when they're exercising, but a recent study suggests that mild dehydration (approximately 1.5% loss of normal water volume) can occur even when you're just sitting. This could be enough to affect moods, the ability to think clearly and energy levels, according to a new study.

The research was conducted at the University of Connecticut and the findings were published in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

The researchers recruited a group of young men and women who lived healthy, non-sedentary lifestyles. Mild dehydration was induced through walking or just not drinking water while sedentary. The researchers then administered a series of cognitive tests measuring vigilance, concentration, reaction time, learning, memory, and reasoning. They administered the same tests when the participants were hydrated in order to compare the results.

The results differed between the two genders. Both men and women had trouble with the cognitive tests while dehydrated, but the women were more likely to report headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. The women also perceived the difficulty of tasks as higher than the men when dehydrated yet showed the same cognitive functioning.

The men tended to have difficulty with mental tasks in the areas of vigilance and working memory. However dehydration did not have as significant an impact on the men as it did the women.

Staying hydrated is important not just for athletes but for everyone. Consider purchasing a reusable water bottle so you can have water on hand at all times for easy hydration.

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