Posted on March 12, 2020 by Kate Halsall
Growing up we were always told to drink plenty of water. Take water with us for sports, drink water after PE and on hot days drink extra. We even had water fountains dotted around school for breaks along with our very own water bottle… but do we know the reasons behind encouraging this? Well, as part of Nutrition & Hydration week, we have put together our top tips for staying hydrated!
Firstly, we are encouraged to drink water because at it’s most basic, water is essential for life as well as allowing us to function! Water is also THE major factor of our own body’s fluids eg blood, the fluid we have in our joints, saliva and urine.
So, how much should we drink?
Although there is no exact recommendation for how much we should drink to stay hydrated as individuals, the eat well guide recommends 6-8 glasses per day. It’s also worth keeping in mind that many factors can affect hydration levels and how much we should drink. Factors including the weather i.e. the humidity; exercise and even the foods we consume.
So, what happens if we don’t stay hydrated?
- Mild dehydration is usually caused by not being aware of how little we have actually drank. This can result in headaches, fatigue and reduced physical and mental performance.
- In more serious cases, dehydration can also result in low or decreased mood, poor cognitive function (mainly the ability to think and focus), discomfort and even distress.
- As well as this, performance will take a hit and regulation of body temperature will be very poor.
- It is therefore important to be aware that drinking too little, is associated with health risks and in extreme cases of dehydration, it can be fatal.
- Feeling thirsty CAN suggest you are typically dehydrated so listening to our bodies is extremely important!
Our 5 top tips to staying hydrated!
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning!
- Always carry a bottle around with you!
- Every meal you eat (and even snacks) include a glass of water!
- The more you sweat the more you should replenish with water!
- Set targets so aim to drink half your goal by 13:00pm (for example)
Please also be aware you can drink TOO MUCH water so staying within the guidelines and listening to your body is the best way to monitor this!