Hydration And You – Frequently Asked Questions
In light of the recent heatwave, we’re going to bring you some facts on the body’s dependence on hydration, or drinking water. Dehydration can be a bit of a shock for our very water-dependent bodies, so it’s important to stay filled up with water in order to stay healthy, particularly during exercise or hot weather where we sweat.
Your body sweats in order to lower body temperature, and in doing so we lose water as well as salts and other minerals. Sweat also contains toxins and is another way out body flushes out impurities. These impurities and chemicals can sit on your skin and cause irritation, which is why it’s important to shower often if you get sweaty.
According to the NHS “Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.” so there’s no excuse to miss out on keeping your water intake high. It’s good practice try and drink down at least 2 litres of water a day. In hot weather, you may even need to drink more, but also during exercise.
When you work out, you sweat more and you burn more calories, so it’s important to keep hydrated then too. Hydrate before, during and after exercise for best results. Sports drinks are also helpful, as sugars and salts are needed to keep hydrated in the best possible way. You can mix up your own at home too. Concentrated squash drinks with an added pinch of pure sea salt can help with your sugar and salts intake when you exercise.
There’s also a lot of stuff you should avoid to prevent dehydration. Of course, it’s mostly the stuff people really want to drink when the good times roll in the summer – alcohol, caffeine and salty foods. All of these can contribute to dehydration. If you’re looking to avoid that, try salads with big chunks of watery veg (tomato, cucumber, melon) instead of salty snacks, and stick with water or iced herbal tea mixes.
If you absolutely must drink alcohol in the heat, keep sparkling or tonic water handy – they can be used to dilute wine and other strong drinks to increase the amount they last for, as well as upping the hydration. Mix with wine for the classic spritzer, or strong cider for a more crisp drink. Mix cocktails as big and as diluted as possible in pint glasses. You can even dilute your soft drinks with sparkling or tonic water too – a great idea if you’re with the kids.
Water is definitely the best thing available to combat dehydration, but there’s more than enough ways to make your water more interesting. We’ve even got an article for that too which will be covered in our next blog – there’s so much you can do with plain old water. Hope you stay hydrated this summer, and have fun.