I am sure you have been told that it is important to not become dehydrated, but has anyone told you why? Or how to help ensure you take on enough fluids?
You require water for pretty much every bodily function, including your cardio/respiratory system, digestion, concentration and muscle contraction. Your body will distribute your water intake as evenly as possible but if there is not enough your body will struggle to function effectively and some of the following symptoms may be indicators of dehydration:
– Feeling tired
– Muscle Stiffness/cramps
If you are thirsty then you are already dehydrated so here are some tips on how to keep those fluid levels up:
– Take a glass of water to bed with you and drink it before you get up – this will not only help wake you up, but will also set a good trend for the rest of the day
– Keep a bottle of water with you in the car, but refill it if it gets too warm (or make sure you drink it before it does!)
– Add squash to your water if you find it too bland
– Cut down on your caffeine intake as this acts as a diuretic – 3-4 cups a day is plenty!
– Eat fresh fruit, particularly strawberries, kiwis and oranges that naturally contain high amounts of water and counts towards your five portions of fruit and veg!
– Fruit juice also counts towards your fluid intake and your five portions of fruit and veg but limit this to 250ml a day as it is also high in sugar.
But how much should you drink? As with most things like this there is no definitive answer but here are some guidelines:
The textbook answer is 1ml for every kcal that you consume, but do you know how much you eat?! On average, men should consume about 2,500 kcals a day so will need about 2.5 litres of water. For women it’s 2,000 kcals so their intake is about 2 litres.
If you are not sure whether you drink enough, fill a 500ml bottle of water at the beginning of the day and see how many times you refill it. Whatever the result, work gradually to improve your intake. If you only fill it once a day then increase your intake by half a bottle a day for a few days and then by another half a bottle for a few days until you reach your target.
If you drink a lot of tea and coffee, again, work gradually to reduce this. Replace one cup a day with a glass of water for a few days or a week. The next week replace another cup a day with a glass of water until you reach your target.
Let me know how you get on. Have you found any other hydration tips that work for you?