Did you know that on a normal day (and by normal, we’re not talking about this freakishly hot summer we’re experiencing at present) we can lose almost half a litre of water from our bodies through perspiration (most of that through our feet alone)? Unless we’re exercising, this perspiration mostly goes unnoticed, as it’s our body’s way of regulating its core temperature, even whilst resting. But this fluid still needs to be replaced, and more so during or after physical activity (and particularly during this freakishly hot summer we’re experiencing at present!).
As we know, the recommended daily water consumption can vary, based on sex, weight, age and activity level, as well as other factors such as the climate you live in, but the rule of thumb is 2 litres (or 8 glasses) a day. During the working day, this level of fluid intake can sometimes be difficult to maintain, as for some, it could mean countless trips to the bathroom!
The good news is that we don’t have to ‘down’ that much water quickly. A cup or bottle on your desk will suffice, sipping at regular intervals, and a lunch consisting of water rich foods will also help to keep your fluid levels up.
As well as common sense basic survival, there are some benefits that are often overlooked when we keep ourselves properly hydrated. Optimum hydration will:
Increase your Brain Function
If you’re struggling to concentrate, and feeling a little sluggish, don’t reach for the coffee – drink some water instead. Your brain is like a well-oiled machine – keep it hydrated and lubricated and you’ll see an increase in focus, you’ll be more alert and your concentration and productivity will improve. A dehydrated brain will affect your mood, reduce your cognitive and motor skills, affect your memory and can also make you more sensitive to pain.
Flush Out Those Toxins
Drinking water regularly will help to flush out waste. Your skin will be hydrated and will look clearer, and your internal organs will function at full capacity! Dehydration can lead to tight, dry skin that’s prone to premature ageing, and internally your bowels will struggle, leading to constipation. Also, when we don’t drink enough, infrequent urination can cause urinary tract infections.
Keep Your Weight in Check
Quite often, we think we’re hungry when in fact we just need a drink. Try it. A glass of water can fill a gap in your belly, making you feel fuller. The added benefit is that water can also improve your metabolism.
Give your Immune System a Boost
Staying hydrated is the easiest way to achieve the healthiest immune system. Water will carry oxygen to all the body’s cells resulting in properly functioning systems, whilst flushing away harmful toxins. Keeping everything ‘flushed through’ lessens the chances of nasty illnesses developing.
Prevent Cramps, Sprains, Aches and Pains!
Water acts as a lubricant to the joints and muscles in our bodies. Keeping them well hydrated will reduce the chances of muscle cramps and achy joints. You’ll be more flexible and exercise will see you less sore the next day! Of course, regular cardio exercise where you sweat more could see a reduction in minerals and electrolytes, and these can be replaced with an isotonic sports drink.
Prevent a Hangover, Naturally!
Too much to drink on a Saturday night can give you the mother of all hangovers the next day. Reduce the risk by drinking water in between alcoholic drinks, and then a large glass before you go to bed. You won’t smell so bad the next day either – bad breath is a clear sign of dehydration – whether it’s caused by alcohol consumption or not!
Enjoy the Benefits
Start your day by drinking a glass of water before you eat or drink anything else. Keep a bottle with you throughout the day to ensure you remember to drink. You may well have a couple of extra visits to the loo than you’re used to, but your body will function better, your mood will be lifted and overall you’ll be a healthier you.
Whatever environment you work in, a water cooler could be the solution to your drinking water needs. Your employer has a duty of care to its workers, so if you haven’t already got one, ask. The benefits will be conducive to all!