Sometimes it’s hard enough remembering to consume enough water on a daily basis but particularly coming into the cooler months of the year, it can be difficult to hydrate our bodies and maintain a good water balance to assist us with recovery and physical performance.
Water is vital to health, healing and life. The human brain is made up of approximately 95% water, with the lungs at nearly 90%. As is evident, not only is water abundant in the body but it is also the single most important nutrient your body needs to function.
According to Don Tolman, the Indiana Jones of Wholefood Medicine, an individual needs to consume around 1 litre of water for every 22kg of body weight. For someone of 70kg, this is around 3L of water that should be consumed daily.
In a previous blog posting ‘Optimising your recovery from training’ we discussed that a common recommendation for adults is to drink 2.1-2.6 litres (8-10 cups) daily, but most experts agree it’s not possible to specify a quantity that is suitable for everyone.
There are many factors at play when it comes to determining your water requirements; these include genetic, body size, fitness levels, environment and exercise.
You will lose body water content through regular daily processes including breathing, sweating, bowel and urine movements and this can total a fluid loss of 4% total body weight so replacement of this as a minimum is essential.
Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. It can reduce an individual’s ability to thermo regulate and tolerate heat, which is a very important mechanism when it comes to engagement in physical activity. Dehydration can also contribute to the early onset of fatigue in prolonged exercise.
Dehydration occurs when we are not replacing our fluid losses throughout the day.
There are some common signs and symptoms when we experience dehydration. See if you can relate to any of these.
Signs of dehydration
- dry mouth
- decreased sweat rate
- dry skin
- yellowing of the eyes
- chapped lips
- sleep disturbances
- reduction in blood volume
- increased core temperature
- extended recovery time
- lowered immune function
- decreased reaction time
- decreased cognitive function
Water should be the go to fluid for the majority of the day in regards to hydration, however when we perform exercise we sweat more and lose electrolytes that can only be replaced by food or electrolyte drinks such as hydralite, shotz and gastrolyte. These should be used in conjunction with water and alongside medical advice.
The general advice around fluid consumption after exercises is for every 1kg loss through sweat and exercise, a replacement of 1.5L is required.
Understandably it can be hard to prioritise hydration on a daily basis given the busy nature of our working lives but it is something that I personally and professionally recommend drawing focus to for increased performance, injury prevention and overall wellbeing.
If drinking water for you is difficult, you can add natural flavour by adding fruits, vegetables and herbs such as lemon, strawberries, cucumber, orange, mint and raspberries. You can also consume your water warm/hot infused with the above food products. These will give you the added immune benefits and help you remain cold and flu free throughout winter.
Make sure you always have a bottle with you so it can act as a reminder to maintain daily water requirements.
Written by Krystal McCluskey