In our search for the best sports drinks, our love affair with coconut water (thanks Rihanna) and the influx of information on nutrition, are we forgetting about the cheap, freely available and oldest drink in the book…Water!?
The body is composed of around 60% water. Almost every process in the body requires/uses up water. This must be replaced! By the time we feel thirsty our body is already dehydrated and the consequences of this are far reaching. On average we lose 6 pints of water a day through sweating, breathing, urination and bowel movements.
The multi-tasker that is water:
- Speeds up metabolism - Studies have found that drinking water literally burns calories as the body works to warm up the water for use.
- Regulates body temperature - Particularly important when exercising to reduce overheating.
- Prevents fatigue – just a 5% drop in body fluids = 25-30% loss of energy. 15% loss = death.
- Reduces headaches/migraines -the Brain is made up of a huge 90% water! Dehydration causes a drop in blood volume to the brain. Headaches when hungover are due simply to dehydration!
- Lubricates the lungs during breathing - we lose 1-2 pints of water a day simply breathing.
- Protects and lubricates our joints - Particularly important in the load bearing spine!
- Helps flush out toxins and the by-products of fat breakdown - important in protecting the kidneys and liver.
- Prevents constipation - dehydration causes the body to remove water from the colon leading to hard stools. Embarrassing for all involved.
Symptoms of dehydration:
- Thirst is the body’s last signal to tell you it needs more water, by this point you are already dehydrated. Don’t leave it this late!
- Dark urine, which smells. Urine should be almost clear with little to no odour.
- Hunger – often when we think we’re hungry we are actually simply thirsty. Try to drink a glass of water before food to help take the edge off and avoid over eating.
- Fatigue – the body needs water to break down energy stores in the body for use.
- Dry skin - the skin is approx. 70% water. It will look dull if dehydrated.
Benefits of upping your water intake:
A reduction in all side-effects stated above but my favourite one …..
*Studies suggest it can reduce the risk of bladder and colon cancer due to its toxin removing properties.
Men should aim for around 3 litres per day, ladies 2.5. If exercising aim for a little more.
What more could you want!?
Drink more, live longer. (water that is)
Written by: Hollie Grant - Pilates Instructor