Posted on November 15, 2020 by Kate Halsall

Ahh the joys of life – creaky knees, stiff back, the can’t quite touch your toes mornings, the I can’t quite get out of bed days.  It’s a tangible forest of aches, pains and fatigue. Did you know that this could be helped without a miracle cure? That’s right – this blog will bring you the truth about water and dehydration – so make sure you’re sitting comfortably!

Water is the Swiss Army Knife of elements that affect every part of us on a cellular level, aiding in all bodily functions from digestion to walking. It is a common occurrence that most of us live our lives in a dehydrated state without even realising it, or at least when we do, it’s already too late. By the time the dry mouth or the headache set in, our brain has chosen to hydrate our most important organs. Sapping fluid from connective tissue or even decreasing blood volume, dehydration has a cumulative effect across the body. It is also the easiest to combat.

At the extreme end of dehydration, the reduction of blood volume can put unwanted strain on your heart, causing it to beat faster or have palpitations, more intrusive methods to replace this fluid may be needed. More commonly at the less severe end, a person may suffer from a dry mouth and sometimes a headache or fatigue, all of which will go away after roughly an hour or so after drinking water.

CrrrAAAAmmmmPPPPPPP! Yes we have all been there, trying that funny walk to easy the vice like grip round a muscle in our leg, your partner giggling to themselves in the corner whilst you’re in real pain. Why does this happen? Is it related to dehydration?

Some studies suggest, yes! It is more common in people who sweat a lot as they lose essential minerals that aid the transfer of signals to the muscles. Two of the major contributors in this are potassium and its trusty side kick, sodium, creating a perpetual push and pull of fluid throughout your body.  Interrupting the signals for muscle contraction is like having poor 4G and trying to order an Uber, we have all been there and it’s no fun.

So by now you have guessed what action is needed just to function – it comes straight out of your tap! Here are some top tips to staying hydrated:

  1. Start your day with a glass of water at room temperature, around 500ml. This will rehydrate you from your sleeping hours and get the belly ready for digestion.
  2. Buy a clear water bottle and carry it wherever you go. And for those of you still in the office, it’s a good reason to get up from your desk to refill. Aim for at least 2 refills throughout the day.
  3. For every coffee, have a glass of water.
  4. Aim for a glass/a few sips before you sleep.
  5. After a work out, adding some electrolytes will replenish those lost minerals so have a water bottle with you and take a few sips during/after the workouts.

It really is that simple (without the added complexities of life obviously). Your path to feeling good should start with your water consumption, an easy behavioural change. Add one step each week and before you know it, water will be your drink of choice.