Your body is about 66% water and more importantly your brain is about 75% water! Water is a component of your body fluids, which are essential for digestion, absorption, circulation, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
Water also helps you to:-
- Lubricate and cushion your joints
- Protect your spinal cord
- Keep your skin looking good
- Energise muscles
We constantly lose water when we breathe, sweat, and eliminate waste. The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women drink 1.6 litres and men 2.0 litres of fluid per day. However, the amount each person needs to drink to avoid dehydration will vary depending on their size, level of activity and the external temperature. All fluid counts (except alcohol) but water has no calories and no sugars so is the healthiest choice for quenching your thirst.
By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated, so you should listen to this cue and get yourself a drink.
Common signs of dehydration include:-
- Dark urine and not passing much urine when you go to the toilet
- Lack of energy
- Feeling lightheaded
Why is drinking fluids important when exercising?
When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work properly and your performance can suffer. Why? Because cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue.
In class we are stretching, and twisting muscles and tissue squeezing out accumulated toxins and impurities from food and the environment. Drinking water afterwards helps you flush these out.
Drinking excessive amounts of water can result in hyponatremia or dilution of your blood. This happens when your blood sodium level drops below 135 milli-moles per litre (normal concentration is 135-145 milli-moles per litre) and severe cases can lead to water intoxication which can be fatal.
But don’t throw away your water bottle just yet, this only happens when a person drinks too much water in a short period of time and the kidneys cannot flush it out fast enough. Most cases of water poisoning also involve increased secretion of vasopressin a hormone which tells the kidneys to conserve water. Secretion of this hormone increases during periods of physical stress, such as running a marathon. So as with all things, you need to balance your fluid intake with fluid loss. Assuming you are healthy, unimpaired by old age, or drugs and can respond to thirst, the best way to achieve this is to ‘Drink to your thirst’.
5 Tips to help you drink more water
- Carry a water bottle, slip one into your bag, keep one on your desk, put one in the car for easy access when out and about.
- Choose water instead of sugary soft drinks, apart from helping you with weight management it will save you money.
- Add interest to your water by flavouring with a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber and a sprig of mint.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables, their high water content will add to your hydration
- Have a water chaser after your coffee or tea