Keeping yourself hydrated is a key consideration for achieving optimal health and maximizing exercise performance. Our bodies consist of approximately 60 percent water and a drop of just a few percent can result in adverse symptoms. The reason for this is water is needed to control body temperature as well as for the delivery of nutrients and excretion of wastes. Water also forms the medium in which the body’s many chemical reactions occur.
How do you know if you are hydrated?
A good way to monitor your hydration levels is by monitoring your urine output. The motto here is ‘Don’t go for gold!’. When fully hydrated your urine should be clear and odorless – although vitamin B2 can give a bright yellow appearance.
What is the best way to stay hydrated?
On average your body loses approximately 2.5 litres of fluid every day, which equates to around 8 glasses or three standard drink bottles, which is why we should aim to drink this much every day. Increase your water intake during physical activity and hot weather and during exercise. Ensure you always have fluid available, keep a bottle on your desk or in your car.
What should I drink?
There are a variety of beverages available on the market, so which one should you drink?
Plain water is always a good hydration option. However if you find you are starting to get bored of the taste try cutting up fruits or vegetables and adding that to your water. Try lemon, lime, berries cucumber or mint. Sports drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde have been specially formulated to do two things. Firstly, they put back in what the sweat takes out, which includes water and electrolytes. Secondly, they provide energy for exercise – typically around 150 – 200 calories per bottle. As a general rule these should only be used after long periods of exercise greater than 1.5 hours or extremely intense training sessions. I would also not recommend these if you are looking to lose weight. Definitely not something to have as a drink through out the day.