How much water do you drink every day? You may think you are drinking enough (or maybe you know that you don’t and you should!), but many of us are unknowingly dehydrated.
Staying hydrated is SO important. Did you know your body is made up of about 70% water, so it is one of the most important nutrients your body needs? When you are dehydrated, your blood can become thicker, which makes oxygen and nutrients harder to get to your muscles. When you haven’t drunk enough water, your brain has trouble distinguishing whether you are hungry or thirsty, so being dehydrated can lead to over eating! So get drinking!!
If you are hydrated, you will have improved energy levels and concentration. If you aren’t drinking enough, you might suffer from headaches, feel ‘flat’ and are constantly tired.
Dehydration is one of those things that can just sneak up on you when you least expect it. It’s a good idea to educate yourself on the warning signs of dehydration so you can stay hydrated.
We are all busy, so we can often ‘forget’ to drink enough water, but also you may not notice some simple signs of dehydration.
If you have any of these signs, it means you are dehydrated and should be drinking more water on a daily basis.
1. Yellow urine – Your urine should be clear. If it looks like orange Gatorade or black tea when you go to the loo, you are dehydrated.
2. Dry skin – if your body is dehydrated, all it wants to do is hold onto to the fluids. Your skin is the first place fluid will go from. If your skin is not very plump, you have dark circle, dry lips or sunken eyes you may be dehydrated.
3. Do you get dizzy? – if you are dehydrated, you may find you get dizzy when you stand up (from sitting or lying). Then you stand up the movement causes your fluids to rush away from your heart, which can cause dizziness.
4. Are you constipated? – if you are constipated, it could mean you are not drinking enough water. If you are dehydrated your body will absorb water from your intestines and draws moisture from your stools – this will make them difficult to pass, cause they will be harder and drier.
5. Thirsty? - if you are thirsty, it means you are already dehydrated. But by drinking water regularly, you will eliminate getting thirsty.
If you don’t stay hydrated, you may also find that
- You won’t be able to get rid of toxins effectively
- Your physical output will decrease, you will become more tired and have less energy
- You get headaches
- Digestion will be harder
- Weight loss won’t be maximised
If you find water boring, the following will help you stay hydrated:
- Still water – add a bit of fresh lemon to it (have this hot or cold)
- Herbal teas – peppermint, chamomile, rooibos
- Vegetable juice
- Mineral water/Soda Water/Tonic Water – this is OK in moderation. It can cause bloating if drunk regularly.
- Coconut water – this is the most natural electrolyte drink. I would drink this if I have been for a long run, rather than the Gatorade/Powerade sort of drinks.
The following will NOT hydrate you!
- Tea (including green tea)
- Decaf drinks
- Soft drinks, including diet drinks
- Fruit Juice
The best way to ensure you are drinking enough is to drink regularly during the day. Start your day with a glass of hot lemon and water (or warm water); drink it while you are preparing your breakfast. If you have been outside for a workout, and it was a cool morning, it’s a great way to warm up as well. In summer, just make it a cool lemon drink! Doing this first thing in the morning is also a great way to kick start your metabolism. WIN WIN!
Be sure to keep a water bottle (one that holds at least 750mls) with you at all times. Have one in your hand bag, in your car, on the bench, on your desk at work. Aim to have drunk one bottle by mid morning, go and fill it up, drink another one by early afternoon, fill it up and drink another one by dinner time! If you have done a workout during the day, you should aim to drink another bottle!