Importance of Hydration
As the weather starts to heat up and the temperature is consistently warmer, it’s a good time to remember the importance of adequate hydration. Hydration is essential to our body’s overall health, with approximately 60% of our bodies make up being water. Water is vital for survival, it helps to regulate the bodies temperature, blood pressure, lubricate joints, moves waste out of our bodies and aids in digestion. Water plays an important role in all of the prior and without, they don’t function efficiently. Even a 2% loss of the bodies water can start to affect short term memory, focus and increase fatigue. As summer temperatures increase, water also helps to keep our bodies cool through sweating and evaporation. So it’s important to stay hydrated!
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid within the body than consuming. Thirst can be a sign that your body is already dehydrated. Dehydration can cause a number of different symptoms. Ranging from headaches, fatigue, lack of focus, dizziness and in severe cases fainting. When exercising inadequate hydration reduces sweat rate and can increase the rate of heat injury from dehydration. It’s important to be aware of the signs of dehydration and take adequate actions to prevent it occuring. Consuming water regularly throughout the day is important to prevent dehydration especially when exercising.
Hydration and Exercise
It’s especially important to monitor your consumption of fluids when exercising. Our bodies hydration requirements are greater when we exercise at high intensities or during warmer temperatures. This is due to the water content we lose through sweating. You can increase your fitness but you can’t increase your body’s tolerance to dehydration. As said prior, even a 2% reduction of fluid can impair performance. For each hour of strenuous exercise, extra fluid needs to be consumed to help counteract the loss of water.
How much should we be drinking?
This is a guide of how much water we should be consuming each day.
Boys: 9 – 13yr 1.6 L per day (about 6 cups)
14 – 18yr 1.9 L per day (about 7-8 cups)
Girls: 9 – 13yr 1.4 L per day (about 5-6 cups)
14 – 18yr 1.6 L per day (about 6 cups)
Men: 19 – 30yr + 2.6 L per day (about 10 cups)
Women: 19 – 30yr + 2.1 L per day (about 8 cups)
These figures are based on average weight and height. If you’re under or overweight then they can be adjusted. Pregnant or breastfeeding women require more fluid and are encouraged to drink more water. A rough guide is 35 ml / kg of body wt. The colour and frequency of urination can be used as a good measure to know if you’re getting enough water!
5 ways to keep hydrated over the summer :
- Use a reusable drink bottle
- Try and stick to 8 glasses of water each day that’s almost 2-3L
- Infuse your water with fresh fruits or herbs
- Drink before you eat – sometimes we can confuse hunger for thirst
- Download a water app onto your phone to help track your hydration
Best time to hydrate?
- When first waking up in the morning this helps to wake up your internal organs
- Thirty minutes before eating helps to aid digestion and an hour post eating to allow the body to absorb nutrients
- Before going to sleep to help combat fluid loss during sleep
Keeping hydration up helps to maintain your metabolism, keeps energy up, helps digestion of food and will make your skin glow!