So, water. It’s actually really important if you’re looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lot of you are probably thinking “Yeah, duh, Miss State-the-obvious” but sometimes it needs said!
We lose water throughout the day through sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom and we need to make sure we consistently replenish our water levels throughout the day. This doesn’t mean downing a glass of water every hour, you also get hydration from foods and other non-water beverages.
Why is it important?
Hydration is essential for any form of physical activity. Poor hydrations causes muscle fatigue, reduces coordination, makes us light headed and can cause muscle cramps. Also, if you become dehyrated during sports or physical activity, you reduce your body’s ability to cool-down through sweating. Not to be extreme, but it can lead to heat stroke which has some very serious consequences.
Hydration is also essential for weight loss. Water (particularly the cold stuff) can help boost our metabolism. Also, it can help curb cravings, overeating and boredome eating. If you’re about to sit down for a meal, have a glass of water first, it will reduce your chances of tucking in for more than you nee by filling your stomach up a bit. Proper hydration also reduces bloating.
Dehydration is also a main cause of headaches and fatigue. Keeping hydrated is essential to allow your brain to function normally too and is important for concentration, cognition and general ability to function at a normal level. It also helps the heart pump blood more efficiently around your body and is general good for the function of all muscles.
But how much do we need?
We all have heard the “8 Glasses a Day” rule. But that’s no longer applicable. My water needs might be very different from yours and it is possible to overhydrate. This occurs when you drink so much you’re constntly back and forth to the bathroom and you’re removing nutrients from your system that you need (e.g salt), so watch out. You need to consider things such as climate, exercise intensity and duration, what you’re wearing, sweat levels and so on to get a reasonable idea of what you should be consuming.
DO NOT RELY ON THIRST. This is key because if you’re thirsty, then you’re already dehydrated.
A way of measuring how much you need is to weigh yourself before and after exercise, to see how much “water weight” you’ve lost. However, if you’re like me, you avoid scales because they do not always give accurate readings of your health (muscle weighs more than fat, but seeing an increase in weight is never fun).
I keep a bottle of water on me at all times and sip it periodically throughout the day. I also consume a lot of fruit and veg and drink green tea. Typically, I find I remain pretty well hydrated throughout the day as a result. Although I now can’t go anywhere without my water bottle.
Symptoms of Dehydration
These are things to look out for that indicate you may be dehydrated and should get some water pronto;
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Dry mouth, lips, eyes
- Passing small amounts of urine infrequently
- Passing urine that is dark in colour (basically, the clearer the better)
Sever dehydration has some pretty serious symptoms (I won’t go into them, check out NHS for a list) so try keep any of these symptoms to a minimum in terms of frequency!
And there we have it! A little educational lesson on the importance of water and why it is liquid gold.
I understand that there is probably people out there who genuinly do not like water (we’ll not start the “it’s got no flavour” debate) so here’s some ways to get water into your life!
- Fruit-infused water (just add some lemon, lime, oranges, strawberries, apples etc to your water overnight to give a fruity flavour!)
- Tea (it’s literally flavoured hot water, best go caffeine free)
- Fruits and vegetables with high water content (lettuce, cucumbers, apples, oranges)
- Other beverages (thinking milk, limited amounts of fruit juice and things)
I don’t know this as some innate knowledge, the sources I used are listed below if you want to have some extra reading. I have also included a fun info-graphic to break up the monotony of text-only posts!
Have a great evening!
P.S One month until Santa makes an appearance…