Making up around 60% of our body weight, water is a key component to maintaining health and preventing dehydration consequences such as headaches, fatigue, and even nausea. But do you know how many fluids you actually take on board each day? It's surprising how many of us are functioning (or under-functioning) in a constantly dehydrated state. Here are some key pointers to help your hydration:
- Your daily base aim should be approx. 2-3L depending on size. It sounds simple, but actually measure this amount out and see if you're reaching this. Remember; coffees, teas, etc are extra to your daily aim. Also, ensure you're drinking extra in the warmer months or if your climate is hot and humid.
- Have a glass of water beside your bed. Drink it first thing in the morning to begin rehydrating after a nights rest, allowing you to be hydrated before breakfast.
- Spread your intake over the day evenly, so your body is absorbing fluid at a consistent rate. Our body fluids deliver nutrients and oxygen to our cells, while also clearing waste, so maintaining hydration really is key to life. Of course, if you lose sleep due to multiple toilet trips in the night then plan the majority of your hydration before dinner time.
- Avoid excessive thirst. This is a natural sign you're already dehydrating. If you're meeting your hydration aims and suffer from chronic thirst be sure to check in with a health professional.
Add electrolytes. If you're struggling to hydrate, a drink containing the key mineral salts (sodium, potassium, calcium, and potassium) will help your body absorb fluid and keep fluid balanced in your cells. It is important electrolytes lost in sweat are replaced, so even if you're not exercising you may still require extra electrolytes. PURE Electrolyte Hydration Low Carb or PURE Electrolyte Replacement Capsules are low sugar options for electrolytes
- Change the temperature of fluids. An easy but effective way to keep your core temp cool in summer is to drink cold water, and warm it up in winter to encourage you to meet your daily goals. The old slice of lemon (or fruit of your choice) trick is also a simple way to jazz up your water flavour.
- Drink between meals not with them. Drinking while eating dilutes your stomach fluids, taking away the optimal digesting environment. Go easy on fluids 20 mins each side of meals.
- Exercise sessions need electrolytes. Go for Low Carb hydration in sessions under 60 mins, and over this, ensure there are carbohydrates in your drink to help fuel (as a bonus they will also help fluid absorption).
- Start exercise sessions well-hydrated to help prevent fatigue and gain more from your training. Keep fluid levels high post-exercise to help with recovery.
- Urine colour is generally a good indication of hydration status (light is the aim), however multivitamins etc can influence urine colour.
Written by sports nutritionist and PURE Sports Nutrition co-founder Marewa Sutherland (BappSc).