Water is the most essential constituent for a human body to function normally. It regulates all the organs and makes it possible for you to put the energies in right place and do everything.

Although drinking water has many health benefits, this guide is specifically written to aware you of the contrary side of what can happen to your fitness if you are not drinking enough water.

What is Dehydration?

In simplest words, Dehydration is the lack of water in the body. It’s a condition that can hamper the normal functioning of human and animal organs and leave a negative impact on their health and fitness.

Dehydration can lead to immediate problems like headache or fever. And if not taken care of, it can cause other problems like hair fall, high blood pressure, kidney pain and shortness of breath to name a few.

Immediate Effects of Dehydration on Fitness in Detail

Dehydration can leave the following negative effects on a human body immediately:

  • reduction of necessary body fluid rate
  • laziness
  • dizziness
  • dryness of skin
  • cramps and muscular stiffness
  • retarded mental health
  • increased heart rate and body temperature

And in severe condition, there is even a chance of:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • and gastrointestinal infections.

Each one of them is explained in the headings below:

Reduction of body fluids

Whenever you are doing cardio, the temperature of your body increases. To maintain the body temperature to its optimum or standard value, there is a natural process called sweating. The water is evaporated from your body to leave a cooling effect but it reduces the normal amount of fluid content of your body.  Water loss and sweat production increase with an increase in temperature and physical activity.


During exercise and tough physical activities, your body releases water by sweating consequently decreasing the necessary amount of water. So this water loss slows down the body processes and makes your body lethargic. You lose the motivation and strength to work again. Your body demands rest. You find cardio more difficult in this condition.


A decrease in body fluids due to heavy exercise or cardio slow down your body processes. It slows your chemical coordination and brain; in acute conditions, you will suffer from dizziness. it also decreases your potential performance. If you are consuming less water and you are doing exercise your fluids decrease and it becomes difficult for your body to cope with increased temperature. If after exercise you experience some kind of dizziness it means you need to intake fluids and water.

Cramps and muscular stiffness

Your muscular strength and stamina are very important for your fitness. But during exercise sometimes your body fluids decrease and it can cause muscular stiffness. So if you experience cramps and muscle stiffness it may be due to dehydration and fluid loss. It is an alarming situation and you need to consume water and fluids to keeps yourself active and fit. Because continuous stiffness or cramps can lead to severe muscle issues or injuries.

Retarded mental health

Fluids especially water usually serve as a medium where different enzymes and other organelles function. Overdoing cardio can reduce your body fluids which can affect your mental health as the chemical coordination is disturbed and if the message sent from the brain is delayed. Your mental health determines your fitness. Drink water and consume fluid to keep your body and brain healthy

Alleviated heart rate

During exercise, your heart rate increases as your body are draining more energy but another major reason is the deficiency of water or fluids in your body. Due to fluid loss, the consistency of water can increase and it becomes thick as a result blocking your veins. In this condition, the chances of a heart attack also increase and can be fatal. So if you are doing cardio for fitness then make it beneficial by taking an adequate amount of water.

Increased body temperature

Your body temperature increases during exercise which is then cooled by sweating. In the condition of dehydration, your body does not have excessive water and sweat production is decreased trapping the heat within the body. This increase in body temperature increases your metabolic activities at their normal rate and speeds the process of ageing. Your body starts to wear out after doing small activities.


When the condition of dehydration alleviates it is mostly followed by diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can be fatal if prolonged as it drains fluids out of your body. So whenever you are doing cardio make sure to keep a check on your fluid intake especially water. In the condition of diarrhoea, you have to stop doing exercise as it only makes your condition worse. Its initial symptom is dehydration. So dehydration is a signal for you to focus on the fluid intake of your body.

Gastrointestinal infections

Maintaining the fluid level of your body is important and it becomes essential if you are doing exercise or hard physical exercise. If you have an adequate intake of water, then many harmful bacteria present in your intestine are excreted through urine. But if you are consuming less amount of water and losing water by sweating during cardio then urine production also reduces. The bacteria remain in your body and causes infections that in acute condition can cause serious and fatal diseases.

Healthy food plays an important role in fitness and health. Dehydration also affects your metabolic and digesting processes. Dehydration also reduces the reabsorption of food in the intestine and stomach. you feel nausea and bloating sensation due to delay of delayed fluid replacement. Consequently, your body loses weight.

Deficiency of minerals and body salts

Through sweating, not only waste but body salts and minerals are also released. Simple water is best for short and easy exercises. If you are working in a hot or humid environment, then your sweating rate will increase and there is a major chance that your body becomes deficient in these minerals especially sodium which is the major electrolyte. So usually people doing workout especially sportsmen add electrolytes and carbohydrates to maintain the level of minerals in the body. The addition of carbohydrates is also beneficial as it serves as an energy source for muscles. So make sure to intake an adequate amount of water or necessary fluids to prevent such suffering.

Reduction in heat tolerance

Dehydration not only increases body temperature but also reduces the heat tolerating ability of the human body. The core temperature that humans can endure is also reduced due to dehydration. The core temperature at the point of exhaustion is o.4 Celsius. To maintain the tolerating ability of the body you should maintain the fluid level of your body.

That’s all in dehydration and fitness.

Important Take-Away

Summer is here, fill up your body tanks with an adequate amount of water because you are going to need it a lot. And if you are regularly involved in physical work or physical workouts it’s about time to start taking the basic 12 glass a day target of drinking water more seriously.

You’ve got only one life on this planet. Make it a healthy one.

Categories: Fitness

Muneeba Ashraf

Muneeba Ashraf from Islamabad, Pakistan is a graduate in Accounting and Finance from Comsats University Islamabad. She is a creative thinker and likes to write on various topics especially Sports and Fitness.