Hydration – Do you drink enough water?
The average Brit drinks less than one glass of water a day. That’s quite a scary statistic!
Staying hydrated throughout the day is important. It has many benefits that will help you with your fitness and wellness goals, as well as your mood.
Here are some of the main reasons:
Dehydration affects our mood! If you’ve ever been really dehydrated, you will know how cranky and foggy your head will feel. Drinking more will help you think clearly and feel happier.
Ever feel really hungry but it’s not time for a snack or meal? You may be thirsty. Often we feel hungry when we are actually thirsty.
Your performance will improve. When we are dehydrated, we can feel really weak and our workout may be a struggle. Water is essential for the body as it circulates the nutrients around your body.
It helps keep your bowels happy. One cause of constipation is not having enough fluid.
It will help in keeping your digestive system functioning properly. The digestive system needs water in order to function properly. It you don’t drink enough, we won’t get rid of waste. This ends up accumulating in our body and causing unnecessary problems.
So now we know that water is what we should be drinking, how much of it do we really need?
Remember, your body is approximately 60% water. So we need to keep it topped up. It is recommended to drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Remember, if it is a hot day or you’ve done a really sweaty workout – you will need more water that day. It is also important to note that 2 litres is the recommended level and how much you actually need will very depending on your height, weight and activity levels.
It is also important to highlight the word water. Although you may drink caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee, you need to make sure you are drinking water as well. Coffee can actually dehydrate you, so you need to make sure you hydrate before you caffeinate.
Although you can keep hydrated from juices or squash, you need to remember that they often have a high sugar content. Having a juice like fresh orange isn’t the healthiest way to stay hydrated. This is because the fibre of the fruits are removed in the processing phase. You are much better having a big glass of water and a piece of fruit on the side to get both benefits.
Remember, alcohol dehydrates you as well. So, if you have been drinking or are planning to drink, try and have a glass of water between every alcoholic beverage to make sure you stay hydrated.
My tips on making sure you drink enough water:
The best way is straight out of the tap. I am lucky enough to be able to enjoy the lovely fresh water from Edinburgh. Although my personal favourite tap water is in Plymouth, as I grew up with the taste and love it! If you don’t like the taste of the tap water (I can’t stand the water in London!), you can get a water filter jug and keep it in your fridge. That way you can top up whenever you need to.
If you don’t like the taste of water on its own, there are things you can do. Try these fruit infused bottles – they are so good for adding some natural flavours. Also try adding a slice of lemon, or lime, or some cucumber. These can make the water taste much fresher.
I always recommend making sure that you get a plastic reusable bottle that you can carry around with you. Personally, I love the big NIKE Performance Flow bottle; as it is bpa free, can contain 946ml of water, can go in the dish washer – and is pink! I’ve also dropped it 100 times and it is has never broken. I take this everywhere with me and even ask restaurants or cafes to top it up with tap water if i’m on the go. This way I can stay hydrated. Continually buying bottles of water is expensive and also bad for the environment.
You can also buy bottles that remind you when to drink, which can be handy. There are so many good apps you can use as well to help remind you when you need to drink water.
For me, the best way to judge when I need to drink more, is to look at my pee. You want it to be a nice pale colour. Anything going slightly darker and you probably need to drink more. Check out this guide from the NHS to see if you should be drinking more. http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/resourcedocument.aspx?id=6504