You are roughly 60% water. Your brain and heart is 73%, and your lungs 83%.
Looking at these figures, it’s clear how important it is to stay hydrated. Many of us struggle to drink adequate water on a daily basis. However, all it takes is a few small changes to get you into the habit of regulating rehydrating to ensure your body has enough water!
Firstly, let’s look at why water is so important…
Although we are all unique and everyone will require a slightly different amount of water, aim for between 2 and 2.5 liters per day as a general guideline to fulfill the following body functions:
Your cells, organs and tissues require water to function; including to help maintain body temperature, removing waste and for optimal brain functioning. We are constantly losing water from the body, primarily through sweat, urine and respiring.
Water consumption is vital for digestion and good gut health, particularly for keeping everything moving and preventing constipation. Digestion begins with saliva, which is predominantly water and then uses the enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down the food we consume. As well as helping to break food down, water helps to make nutrients more accessible to the body, delivering them to where they are needed. Our kidneys and liver also use water to help excrete waste.
Mild dehydration (as little as a 1-3% fluid loss can), has significant knock-on effects. It can lead to impaired mood and concentration, as well as increased risk of headaches. Your physical performance will also be affected, which in the long term may impede your fitness/weight goals. You will also fatigue quicker, and your recovery rate will be much slower.
If you find that you suffer with low mood and low energy levels quite frequently, take a look at your current water intake as this could be playing a significant role.
One of the most important circumstances for increasing water intake is during times of increased exercise, so make sure you are drinking plenty before, during and after your workouts.
Struggle to drink enough? Here are a few tips…
- Try adding sliced fruit or fresh mint to your water to enhance the flavour
- Eat your water! Most of your fluid needs come from water and other drinks but don’t forget you can also get some fluids from the foods you eat too. For example, fruit and veg such as melon, celery, cucumber & tomatoes all contribute to your water intake, as well as soup.
- Tea and coffee also contribute to your daily water intake; however, caffeinated drinks are diuretics, which increase the excretion of water from the body rather than keeping you hydrated so just be mindful of your caffeine consumption. You can always try alternating between a caffeinated drink and a caffeine free herbal tea for example.
- Carry a bottle with you wherever you go to get you into the habit of regularly drinking!