To stay happy, healthy and raring to go, our bodies need three essential things: food, oxygen and water. A careful balance of these three is what keeps us chugging along. So, when that balance goes off-kilter, we don't feel right.
Our bodies let us know when they need food and oxygen, but staying hydrated is a little trickier. To help you stay on top of your water intake and keep things on the level, here are some top do’s and don’ts for drinking water including:
- What are the benefits of drinking water?
- How much water should I drink?
- What's the easiest way to stay properly hydrated?
Why not start by pouring yourself a cool glass and reading the rest of this article?
What are the benefits of drinking water?
Throughout our lives our bodies are between 70-55% water – so it’s a pretty important part of our everyday lives. In fact, it’s vital for our long and short-term health.
“Water is essential for life. As a major constituent of the body, it has many functions including transporting nutrients and compounds in blood, removing waste products that are passed in the urine and acting as a lubricant and shock absorber in joints.” BDA
In addition to some of the more invisible benefits mentioned above, there are several physical and visible reasons for keeping your fluid levels up. Here are some everyday tips to staying hydrated:
- Does drinking water help skin? Look through any health and beauty magazine or website and you’ll no doubt find information all about this. In a nutshell, dehydrated skin looks dull and dry, whereas hydrated skin looks bright and dewy, ergo: drink more water and your skin will look better and more moisturised.
- It does wonders for your workout. Drinking enough water pre-workout can help your muscles recover and perform more efficiently. And topping up post-workout helps recover the moisture lost through sweating.
- Are you hungry or thirsty? You may have heard that your body often confuses hunger and thirst, so try having a drink before you chow down to see if that helps. As well as that, try eating more water-rich foods like fruit and vegetables. They’re low in calories, so you can eat more, and they’re more filling too.
How much water should I drink?
Around 20% of our water intake comes from our food – items like tomatoes, cucumbers, soups, and stews. The rest we need to drink. The NHS recommends six to eight glasses or around 1.5 litres a day plus food for normal water loss. Although if you work out and sweat, then drink more. Other international authorities suggest 2-2.5 litres including food.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
|Ages 1-13 years||From 880ml up to:
|Ages 14+||2000ml (men)
If you’re worried about not drinking enough water and concerned that you’re dehydrated, there are a few things you can check and symptoms to look for:
NHS Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:
- feeling thirsty
- dark yellow and strong-smelling urine (it should be a pale straw-yellow)
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- feeling tired and unfocused
- a dry mouth, lips and eyes
- peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day
If you notice any of these, try and increase your intake as your body will be completely out of that all-important balance.
What's the easiest way to stay properly hydrated?
If you’re wondering how to drink more water every day, then here are a few ways you can get started. After you’ve tried all these and got into a routine, it’ll be easy to keep your hydration levels up with the help of water bottles. You’ll need to put in a bit of effort and track what you’re drinking.
Sure, you can buy a bottle of drink or a cup of coffee on the go, but one of the more classic options for keeping your thirst quenched all day long is to carry around a water bottle with you. These have grown in popularity recently due to their eco-friendly and hydrating qualities. Here are a few of our faves. Just keep it topped up throughout the day at the water cooler or the office tap.
FUN FACT: If you get a thermos drinks bottle, it can hold hot or cold drinks, so why not try and convince your office manager to invest in a tap which delivers both?
Top tips on making sure you drink enough water
- Food and drink both count towards your daily liquid intake so why not start your day with porridge? They absorb a lot of liquid while cooking and keep you fuller for longer.
- Smoothies are a good option too – they’re delicious, hydrating and are packed with loads of nutrients. Limit yourself to one smoothie a day though – they can be high in sugar.
- Drink more milk. It’s more hydrating than water and has the added benefits of calcium and protein too.
- Try soup instead of a solid meal – they’re full of excellent minerals, nutrients, and that all-important liquid.
- Hot and sweaty on a Summer day? Why not try a homemade ice lolly? Pack them with fruit and make them with squash for a DIY, low-calorie, hydrating treat.
TOP TIP: Take sips throughout the day instead of large gulping glasses full – it’ll help your body get used to the higher intake.
We hope we’ve helped you work out how to stay hydrated, but whatever you do, try to keep all three vital things in balance; food, oxygen, and water. It’s a simple way to keep your body running smoothly and to recognize when things aren’t right.