The Hydration Battle

Water makes up a large part of the body, on average around 57-60%, and plays an essential role yet it still seems to be a battle to get clients to understand how important being hydrated is and getting them into a routine of drinking regularly. In this article we are going to explain briefly the role of water in the body and some tips to pass on to your clients.

Water is responsible for many functions and processes such as controlling your temperature, digestive function, controlling waste products and it transports the essential nutrients and oxygen around the body. The majority of this water can be found within the body’s cells, otherwise known as intracellular space. The remaining water is extracellular, so outside of cells, and within the blood. It also helps to lubricate and provide a cushioning function for joints and the brain. Water doesn’t play a large role within fat cells since they do not contain much water.

You might be impressed to know that….

  • The muscles and brain are approximately 75% water
  • The lungs are about 83% water
  • Blood and kidneys are about 81% water
  • Liver is 71% water
  • Bones are about 22% water
  • The skin is about 64% water
  • Adipose tissue is about 20% water (European Hydration Institute, 2014; USGS, 2014)

Maintaining homeostatic control of water control is essential as a small decrease in water can cause significant effects. Concentration can become affected when the body loses 1-2% of water and this is usually when you feel thirsty.

Now we have covered some physiological understanding…here is some information you can communicate with clients…

When the body becomes dehydrated you can start to suffer with:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Dry lips and skin
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of confusion

How would I know if I was dehydrated?

The best way to determine whether you are dehydrated is to look at the colour of your urine. It should be a pale yellow colour. If it is dark then you are dehydrated and you need to drink more water. Also, if you find you don’t go to the toilet too often, or when you do you pass a small amount of urine, you could be dehydrated!

What shall I do stay hydrated?

The recommended amount of fluid is 1.5-3 litres a day, usually between 2.5-3 litres for men. This is all dependent on the individual’s lifestyle and dietary intake too, the more active you are – the more water you need to replace. Fluid can come from the foods you consume as well as the drinks you consume during the day.

What should I drink?

Water is the best drink to improve hydration; however, you can also try alternatives such as squash, milk, juices or teas. Be aware of the amount of sugar in these drinks. Try and moderate the number of drinks which contain caffeine as they act as a diuretic causing you to go to the toilet. The same applies to alcohol; alcohol causes you to go to the toilet and actually dehydrates you, therefore drink alcohol in moderation.

Tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • When you wake up in the morning you will be dehydrated, try and get into a routine of drinking a glass of water or squash before any other drinks.
  • Carry a bottle or water with you or have a glass on your desk – if it is in sight you are more likely to drink it
  • Have a glass of water with each meal
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as they contain water
  • If you are in a hot environment or an exercising environment make sure you drink extra fluid

Hydration is an extensive topic and it differs between genders and ages but here we had covered the key principles of why staying hydrated is so important for our health!