I decided to write this post as the temperatures have started to rise at last. Three nights ago I wore a cardigan over a thin jumper when we went out and at eleven o’clock last night I stripped the beds of the quilts as it was so hot. The temperatures so far in May have been well below average, but the mercury is rising and fast!
The importance of hydration…
Our body is made up of anywhere between 55% and 75% water. We aren’t all made up of the same amount of water just as we aren’t made up of the same amount of fat or muscle, but the main thing to remember is that we are made up of over 50% water – and that’s a lot!
We are constantly losing water through sweat and we lose water every time we go to the toilet.
Water keeps our skin looking plump as every cell in our body contains water. Muscles and tendons start to take strain when we don’t drink enough water as water helps to keep them flexible and lubricated. Even our ability to think is effected when we start to become dehydrated.
Our body will start to feel different with as little as 2% dehydration, you may not notice it if you are unaccustomed to drinking enough water or listening to your body, but it is a fact.
How much water is enough?…
Knowing how much water to drink may seem confusing as one article recommends eight glasses of water a day, but fails to mention the size of the glass and another article advises we drink at least two liters of water a day.
The amount of water that we need to drink will vary from person to person, depending on the climate, activity levels and how sweaty they are. For instance my Dad and son sweat more sitting not doing much than I do on a run, so they naturally need to drink as much water as I do even when they aren’t active.
How to ensure you are drinking enough…
Knowing how much water to drink is not difficult all you have to do is to listen to your body. You may already think that you are drinking enough water, but I bet if you were to increase the amount that you drink you would notice how much better you feel.
In the winter I do try to drink two liters of water a day and in the summer when the temperatures are high I will easily drink three liters or more a day, especially on days I’ve been for a run or a cycle. I can get away with drinking less than these amounts, but I know that I feel better for drinking it.
I also know that if I go a couple of days not drinking as much water as my body needs my muscles feel tight and I start to get potential injury niggles whilst running. If I know that I haven’t drunk enough water in the day before a run I have been known not to go as the risk of pulling a calf muscle just isn’t worth it.
If you never drink water then start by aiming to drink a liter a day for a week, then increase the amount to a liter and a half a day for the next week and so on until you know you are drinking enough – and you will know, your body will let you know all you have to do is take notice!
I’ll can’t drink that much water!…
Oh yes you can! Once you get into the habit of drinking water throughout the day you will easily be able to drink a couple of liters or a more a day.
I’ll have a glass of water first thing whilst waiting for the kettle to boil for my morning coffee. I always have a glass of water when I get in from a run or cycle and after half an hour or so I’ll have another one. If you make a point of drinking water throughout the day the amount soon adds up.
The time I have to make a conscious effort to drink water is if I am working on the computer, I get so immersed in what I am doing that I often lose track of time and forget to drink, which results in me getting achy, a headache and a dry mouth. None of which feels good. So I know it is worth keeping a bottle of water and a glass nearby to drink – I only drink bottled water as tap water here in Greece is not good to drink. I begrudge paying for bottled water and don’t do it if I don’t have to!
When you stay well hydrated, you may notice…
- That you feel better in yourself.
- You sleep better.
- Your concentration is better and you can focus on tasks better.
- You have less physical stiffness and niggles.
- That you have more energy and feel less lethargic.
- Stools are easier to pass.
- Skin looks brighter and wrinkles are less obvious.
When you start to become dehydrated, you may notice…
- You become thirsty; when we feel thirst we are already slightly dehydrated!
- You feel lethargic and find it hard to get moving.
- You feel a headache coming on.
- A change in mood; you may start to feel a little down or depressed.
- It’s harder to concentrate on tasks.
- You become constipated and find bowel movements hard and painful.
- Skin looks more wrinkly, dull and dry.
Can I drink too much water?…
Yes it is possible to drink too much water, but to do that you would have to drink vast amounts. Drinking two or three liters a day won’t cause any adverse effects. Although at first you may find that you need to urinate much more frequently than usual, but the body is amazing and after a while of drinking enough water the need to urinate so often passes as the body learns to cope better.
Illness causes our body to lose water…
When we are ill with a fever, vomiting and diarrhea we quickly become dehydrated, so at these times we need to ensure that we drink water. We may not always feel like drinking when we are ill, but you’ll be surprised how much you can drink just by taking regular sips and if drinking plain water causes nausea try sipping sparkling water or even diluted fruit juice.
Why water is the best for hydration…
We don’t just get the liquid our body needs solely from drinking.
It’s not just water, but fruit juices, tea, coffee and soft drinks all help to keep us hydrated too, but drinking too many sugary drinks are no good for our teeth or our waist bands! Also foods like fruit, vegetables and soup all contain high percentages of water, so they too help to keep us hydrated.
But drinking water is the best way of ensuring that we stay hydrated, as it is easy for our body to absorb and filter.
I know someone who rarely drinks water and it shows in her skin. Her skin looks as if it lacks water. Just look how fruit becomes wrinkled and dull as it dries out and our skin is no different.
Do you drink enough water? And do you prefer drink tap or bottled water?
Please feel free to leave your comments below.
Copyright © 2014 Debbie Roberts
© 2014, Debbie. All rights reserved.