Hydration is key to our health and well-being, it is however something we often neglect. We worry too much about the food we consume, carbohydrates, fat, protein, salt and sugar content, neglecting our hydration.
We can survive up to 3 weeks without food where as it is estimated we could survive only a week without water, weather conditions can shorten this.
The amount of water we need each day can vary from person to person, based on activity levels, age, health, environment and diet. It is estimated that we should look to consume 1.5 – 2 litres of water day, this does not take into account if you are exercising, which means you should consume a bit more. For a more accurate guide consider taking 1 to 1.5 ml of water for every calorie burned. The average female is recommended to consume 2,000 calories per day so this would be 2-3 litres per day, for males it is 2,500 calories per day meaning a water intake of 2.5 to 3.75 litres of water a day.
This also does not take into account your body size, if we are bigger or smaller than the average person we may needs less or more water.
Dehydration can impact our daily life it is reported that just 1% dehydration can reduce our concentration; 5% dehydration can cause us to become hot and tired and our performance is decreased; 10% dehydration results in delirium and blurred vision and 20% could result in death.
If you are feeling thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. The most used way to test if you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine.
Make it a habit
If you feel you are not drinking enough water, you may want to look to carry out a habit challenge, where you look to have a glass of water with every meal. This way you start to attach drinking water to an already existing habit, using the already set habit as a queue to drink more water.
Liquid! Okay, some fruits and vegetables contain water, which contribute to your fluid intake for the day. When looking at liquids beware of hidden calories and sugars which can be found in fizzy drinks, coffees, shakes and smoothies. The best hydration drink is water. Interestingly post physical activity it may be milk! Water is great as it has no calories, unlike the various sports drinks and coffee shop drinks we purchase.
*Side not on the study: we have to question the results slightly as the participants were already hydrated, if they were dehydrated would the results have been different?
Some drinks are seen as a diuretic – these drinks encourage your body to go to the toilet, when you are dehydrated you want your body to hold onto what you drink for longer, so you become hydrated.
Drinks associated with being a diuretic include coffee, green and black tea, and alcohol. If we drink these drinks regularly throughout the day, you may want to consider having a glass of water before or after each cup.
Why is water important?
Water makes up around 60% of the human body, it is vital for many chemical reactions in the body as well as keeping our organs functioning it:
- Helps us to maintain a normal body temperature
- Ensures our blood volume is adequate
- Hydrates our skin, preventing it feeling rough and dry
- Reduces the chances of kidney stones
- Helps reduce constipation
- Main component of body fluids
Next time you are at the kettle, whilst its boiling walk to the tap and fill up a glass and a take a few sips or more, make drinking water part of your daily routine to help your energy levels and body to function correctly.