Not Drinking Enough Water? Your Thinking May Be Impaired


Working outside without fluids (especially in the hot summer sun) for just two hours is enough to cause dehydration sufficient to impede concentration, according to a study from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta. F or this study, the researchers analyzed data from 33 peer-reviewed research papers on dehydration and cognitive abilities, including attention, coordination, complex problem solving, and reaction times. They discovered that, while fluid loss has a minimal effect on reaction times, it can have a major impact on cognitive functions that require focus. As study participants became more dehydrated, they made more errors in repetitive tasks, as well as higher-order functions like complex problem solving.

The Georgia Tech researchers found that severe impairments in cognitive function begin at around 2 percent of body mass loss due to dehydration – a 4-pound fluid loss in a person who weighs 200 pounds. According to the researchers, most people feel poorly at a 4 percent fluid loss. Older adults and people who are severely overweight are at higher-than-normal risk for dehydration.

Sourced from: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise