As we start to increase our level of physical activity, our body’s demand for adequate hydration also increases, but why is that?
As we become fitter, our bodily functions such as digestion, respiration and circulation are increased.
The energy produced during exercise places a greater demand on these systems in order to allow our body to move more.
Think of food like the fuel we put in our car, that provides the car with energy to move, and the water in our body as the oil in the car that allows for those processes to happen more efficiently.
By being adequately hydrated our body is better at regulating our temperature especially during exercise.
If we don’t keep our body adequately hydrated we become dehydrated, which can cause an array of different problems such as…
Lack of energy:
When your body isn’t adequately hydrated, blood becomes thick and does not flow effectively.
This can prevent efficient transportation of oxygen rich red blood cells and glucose which is essential for energy production.
The production of body waste is hampered by dehydration. Think of pumping cement, the more water in it, the easier it will come out of the pipes!
Joint Pain and Stiffness:
In our joints we have a substance called synovial fluid. This fluid acts as a lubricant, and as you probably guessed it’s made up of mostly water.
By not having enough water in our system, (especially as we become more active) our body’s joints will dry out, and can become in-effective. The lack of lubrication will cause more wear and tear on our joints, and lead to pain!
The human skin loses it’s elasticity as we age, couple that with dehydration and the skin becomes like a wilted tree that has lost it’s turgor.
The kidneys are one of the most hard-working organs in the human body. Their main role is to act as a purification system for the blood, filtering out and excreting waste products through urine. When we are dehydrated our urine has a higher concentration of waste. This can lead to the formation of crystals which can affect kidney function lead to kidney stones.
How to stay well hydrated
Water should always be your drink of choice for maintaining hydration, but some fruits have between 80 to 98% water content and are a valuable source of some of the body’s essential electrolytes.
Remember Alcoholic drinks and those high in caffeine act as a diuretic and will increase dehydration.
Do I know If I am Hydrated enough?
There are many different opinions on how much water we should drink a day, but an easy one to remember is 8 x 8oz glasses a day, which equates to around 2L. You may need to increase this, as you increase your level of activity.
The best indicator of how hydrated you are is to look at the colour of your urine. This should be a straw colour. (Be aware that some vitamins etc. will change the colour of your urine).