Stay hydrated, stay sharp

: Just two hours of vigorous work in the summer sun without drinking fluids could be enough to blunt concentration, say scientists who found that cognitive functions often deteriorate as the body gets dehydrated.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US analysed data from multiple research papers on dehydration and cognitive ability.

The data pointed to functions like attention, coordination and complex problem solving suffering the most, and activities like reacting quickly when prompted not diminishing much.

As the bodies of test subjects in various studies lost water, the majority of participants increasingly made errors during attention-related tasks that were mostly repetitive and unexciting, such as punching a button in varying patterns for quite a few minutes.

There are situations in life that challenge attentiveness in a similar manner, and when it lapses, snafus can happen.

“Maintaining focus in a long meeting, driving a car, a monotonous job in a hot factory that requires you to stay alert are some of them,” said Millard-Stafford, a principal investigator of the study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

“Higher-order functions like doing math or applying logic also dropped off,” said Millard-Stafford.

“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,” Millard-Stafford said.

People with high body fat content also have lower relative water reserves than lean folks.PTI

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

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