Are you hydrated?
We often ask clients on a daily basis ‘how much water have you had today?’ and the response more often than not is ‘not enough’. Everybody knows that staying hydrated is very important but why do so many of us not drink enough water? Drinking water is one of our top 5 principles for optimal health – breathing is also one of these so this highlights the importance of staying hydrated….EVERY DAY!
Here are a few primary reasons why water is so important to our health:
75% of the body is made up of water, 80% of the brain is made up of water, 75% of muscles are made up of water, 92% of blood is made up of water and most importantly water carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. As well as these critical actions water also lubricates the joints and helps the body flush toxins out through waste.
So what happens when we are not hydrated?
Poor hydration can lead to constipation, dry and itchy skin, acne, nose bleeds, repeated urinary tract infections, dry coughs, sneezing, sinus pressure, headaches and fatigue, which can be the result of toxins building up in our bodies. Poor hydration weakens the body’s immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances, which can eventually cause sickness and premature aging. A lack of sufficient hydration is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue, and a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger short-term memory problems and difficulty focusing on reading a computer screen or printed page – tasks that each every one of our clients do on a daily basis!
Dehydration & Performance
Studies have found that athletes who lose as little as 2% of their body weight through sweating experience a drop in blood volume which causes the heart to work harder to circulate blood. A drop in blood volume may also lead to muscle cramps, dizziness & fatigue. It is vitally important that you are hydrated before, during and after your training sessions so that your performance in the gym does not suffer. The more you sweat and the more you workout, the higher your water intake should be so that you replenish the levels in the body.
Hydration & Fat Loss
Firstly, when we are slightly de-hydrated the body can confuse this with hunger leading many people eat empty unneeded calories when the body is really after hydration. Always keep hydrated so that you don’t take on any extra unneeded calories. When the body burns fat deposits, it can encounter toxins and chemicals stored within the fat. These toxins can impair our immune system. By drinking plenty of water throughout the day, you provide a vehicle to allow the body to assist in flushing out those toxins.
Secondly, water and its relationship with the kidneys and liver play a huge role in fat metabolism. In order to do their job properly, your kidneys require an enormous amount of water. If the water is not supplied, your body goes to Plan B, which is to enlist the assistance of your liver. Because the liver is able to metabolise fat (turn it into energy), every second your liver spends bailing out the kidneys is a second it isn’t burning stored fat. Drinking more water allows the kidneys to run at their optimal level and keeps the liver available to burn fat.
It is clear from the above that staying hydrated and drinking enough water throughout the day is one of the most important health habits you could possibly have – if you do not get enough clean water you will ultimately suffer health problems somewhere down the line.
Tips for hydration success:
1. Drink 37.5ml of water per kilo of body weight – 95kg = 3.4 litres per day
2. This should only come from bottled or filtered water – not tap water and squash/fizzy drinks are not water.
3. Add a lime or lemon to water – this has an alkalizing effect on the body. The higher or more alkaline your pH, the more your body is resistant to minor and major disease.
4. Have a water bottle on your desk daily – forgetting to drink water is not an excuse.
5. Monitor your urine colour – generally the darker your urine the more dehydrated you are (unless you are taking certain supplements).