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Why Optimising Hydration is so Important

Why Optimising Hydration is so Important

Thursday 2nd August 2018
Jonny Carter

Due to the hot temperatures at the moment staying optimally hydrated is something you need to be aware of. Most of the year the NHS recommend that the average person should drink around 2 litres of water daily. However, when the temperatures have been above 25 degrees recently leading Urologists suggest this should be increased to 3 litres. If you are exercising intensely this should be increased even further to around 3.5-4 litres. You can get some of this water from food, various fruits are made up of a high percentage of water also juices, tea, etc can all be included in your water consumption. However, it is hard to quantify how much water you are getting from food; therefore, it is easier to quantify through water. A good tip is to fill a 1.5 litre bottle with water and sip it whilst sat at your work desk, that means you have drank at least half (or more in the non-summer months) of your water needs in eight hours.

Why is it important to stay hydrated? Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organ in the body needs water to work properly. Examples are that your body uses water to lubricate joints, remove waste and maintain its temperature, basically every chemical reaction needs water. Staying optimally hydrated also helps your body transport various nutrients from food to give you energy. Therefore, if you're not properly hydrated you are likely to be low in energy. Optimising hydration is also important for fat loss. This is because lean muscle in the is made up of around 80% water, needing this water to function properly. When you become dehydrated the muscle will not function properly as it can't contract efficiently, this reduces both strength and endurance, therefore you will not be able to train for as long and as hard therefore leading to less calorific burn from exercise. Already mentioned water is needed for absorbing and transporting nutrients around the body, storing carbohydrate in the liver and muscles. It also aids digestion, transports and removes waste products in the blood and helps the immune system function optimally. All these processes are part of your body's metabolism and therefore burn calories constantly. If you are not optimally hydrated these processes will slow down or even stop, therefore slowing your metabolic rate and burning less calories.

The signs of dehydration. These vary drastically in severity. However, you shouldn't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water, as at this stage you are already dehydrated, and all the above processes will start to slow down. Once the dehydration becomes more severe you may experience fatigue, less urine output and suffer a headache and or dizziness. One of the simplest ways you can check your hydration levels is by using the 'pee chart' in the picture. The darker your urine is the more dehydrated you are. Optimal hydration should result in light straw-coloured urine. The 'pee chart' is very simple but a great way of recognising your hydration levels and if your urine is on the darker side get consuming water!