Physical Wellbeing Essentials: Hydration
Physical Wellbeing Essentials: Hydration
Thanks for dropping by to check out Part 5 of SAWT’s 6-part special “What Everybody Should Know About Wellbeing”. Today we’re talking hydration.
Water is an essential nutrient of life. It accounts for about 60% of an adult’s body weight. It performs crucial roles in our body such as carrying nutrients to cells, helping to remove waste products from our major organs and helping to regulate our body’s temperature. It is needed for almost every bodily function.
Some key facts about water and hydration
- Our brain is about 73% water, so poor hydration affects how it functions
- It is constantly being lost from our body, through urine, sweat, breathing and other bodily functions
- We don’t have a real water storage area in our body, so it must be replaced regularly by water from our diet
- Each day you should drink about 2 litres of water – more in hot conditions or if you’re physically active
- The average Briton drinks just 200ml of water a day
- If you fly a lot, remember that air conditioning can accelerate dehydration, so drink more than you usually would whilst you’re in an aircraft
Our bodies lose approximately 2.5 litres of water each day just by breathing, sweating and going to the toilet. Consequently, if we don’t pay proper attention to topping up our water intake, it’s easy to become dehydrated.
The dangers of dehydration
- Dehydration can cause a 1-2% reduction in body weight, which can reduce our ability to concentrate, our cognitive and physical performance and increase feelings of aggression or irritation
- Even mild dehydration adversely affects both mental and physical performance
- Just 2% dehydration can cause a 20% reduction in performance in physical and cognitive activities
- Staying hydrated is essential, particularly when working in varied conditions and when you need to concentrate for long periods of time
- Drinking little and often throughout the day can help us stay on track and keep us alert
- If you become even mildly dehydrated, it can directly affect your ability to perform at your best
- The evidence linking mild dehydration with a range of chronic illnesses is growing
(Source: Nelson & Colne College)
So, we best get drinking – and eating foods that are high in water content. For more information on foods with a high water content, see yesterday’s article on nutrition.
SAWT PRO TIP: Keeping a jug of lemon water at home or at work and drinking throughout the day isn’t only a great way to keep hydrated. The addition of the lemon also
Aids in digestion and detoxification
Boosts the amount of Vitamin C in your system
Keeps your skin looking good
Boosts your energy and mood
(Source: Dr Axe – Lemon Water Benefits)
Signs of dehydration
- Your body has special mechanisms to make sure you stay hydrated. Feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that you need to drink more
- If you do not drink enough water, your urine becomes over-concentrated with waste, which is why it becomes a darker yellow color. If you are getting enough water your urine should be a pale straw colour
- Other signs of dehydration include headache and dizziness
Actions to take
- If you are dehydrated, sip water slowly to rehydrate
- If your urine is darker than pale straw or if you are urinating infrequently or passing very small amounts of urine, then you need to drink some more fluid
- You also need to drink more if it is hot, or if your temperature is high due to physical activity or illness
A note about sports drinks
- Sports drinks may only be beneficial for those undertaking regular high-intensity training and performance exercise lasting for more than 1 hour
- Isotonic drinks may be appropriate if you are carrying out high-intensity physical activity, such as marathon running, cycling, competitive tennis etc, for more than 1 hour
- If you’re just going for a run around the park, it’s unlikely you need a sport drink – regardless of what the TV advertisements show!
Learn more about healthy hydration at: Nutrition.org.uk
Next week, we’ll be delving into an area that has a massive impact on our wellbeing: Personal Resilience. Join us for that and much more!
SAWT conducts wellbeing training sessions that cover all of these areas, bespoke to your requirements. If you need support, we’d love to help! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07791 97 82 44.