Hydrated and Happy

During the warmer months of the year it becomes more and more important to stay properly hydrated.

Water is our body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of our body weight. Every system in our body depends on water and during the hotter periods we may need more than usual.

We all know that we should be drinking more water in order to remain hydrated, but how much is enough? As a minimum, an active adult should be drinking at least 2 litres per day, but this may need to increase during physical activity. Sitting in the sun on a hot or humid day, even if you aren’t exercising, can also cause your body to need more fluids.

WHY IS STAYING HYDRATED SO IMPORTANT?

• Energy levels – Our brains consist of mostly water so being dehydrated can greatly affect how we function cognitively. Dehydration also causes the blood volume to drop which in turn lowers the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This can affect the way we think, focus and concentrate, as well as decreasing our mood, level of alertness and co-ordination.
• Toxin removal – Water helps our bodies to get rid of waste through sweat and urination so a lack of adequate hydration can lead to increased toxicity. Water is also essential to digest our food and helps prevent constipation.
• Avoid headaches – When we become dehydrated our brain tissue loses water causing the brain to shrink and pull away from the skull. This triggers pain receptors surrounding the brain which then leads to headache.
• Beautiful skin – Without enough water, our skin loses moisture and will lose its softness, freshness, and smoothness. It will start to dry out which can lead to premature ageing as well as problematic skin conditions.
• Healthy weight – Water is a natural appetite suppressant, raises our metabolism and has zero calories. Often thirst is mistaken for hunger which can lead to an increased calorie intake and weight gain.
• Reduce injury – Water helps soft tissues to be more elastic and stretch further. Dehydrated muscles are tight, crampy and at risk of injury. Proper hydration also helps keep joints lubricated to allow them to move easily through their full range of motion.

Avoid the problems dehydration can bring and keep a water bottle on you at all times. If you struggle with the taste then add a squeeze of lemon for a added liver detox or treat yourself to some sparkling water. If you’re unsure whether you are drinking enough water on a daily basis then check the colour of your urine. If it’s pale and clear it generally indicated that you are well hydrated. If you find that your urine is dark then it could be that you need to drink more water.

Remember, feeling thirsty means you are already dehydrated so don’t wait until then before you take a sip. Try to keep your water intake regular and consistent throughout the day. Severe dehydration can actually lead to heat stroke and even death, so it is not something to be taken lightly.

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