Know The Signs
The average person loses 700ml of water through their skin and breath each day – and that’s before you throw warm weather and sweaty workouts into the mix. Knowing the early warning signs of dehydration is key. “One of the simplest ways to check whether you’re hydrated is from the colour of your urine,” says Dr Joshua Berkowitz, medical director at IV Boost UK. “Ideally, you want your urine to be pale yellow, which indicates good hydration. Dark yellow or amber-coloured urine suggests you may be dehydrated. You may also feel weak, dizzy or not have much energy.” Sweating more than usual, working out for more than 60 minutes, losing fluid from an upset stomach or having a fever all increase fluid needs. “A well-hydrated person should go to the loo six or seven times a day,” he adds. “If you go less than five times a day, this could be a sign you are dehydrated.”
Tweak Your Intake
There’s more to staying hydrated than eight glasses of water, adds nutritionist Rob Hobson. “It’s not a bad rule of thumb but we are all different and some people need more than others. Thirst is the body’s way of telling you that you need more water, so if you need more or less than eight glasses, listen to your body.” What you eat, where you live, how much exercise you do, how much you weigh and the state of your health can all affect the amount of hydration you need, adds Joshua. “Around three litres of water a day is a good goal.”
Hydrate First Thing In The Morning
We lose on average 200ml of fluid overnight, so when we wake up, we are naturally slightly dehydrated. “A large glass of water is the first thing you should reach for in the morning,” adds Rob. And your morning coffee may not be as dehydrating as you think. “The idea that coffee dehydrates you is a myth,” continues Rob. “Contrary to popular belief, studies show coffee hydrates as well as water over a 24-hour period. While it may make you urinate sooner; you won’t urinate more than you consume. Large studies on caffeine and dehydration confirm coffee is an acceptable source of fluids, even for athletes, including those that exercise in the heat.”
Sip Constantly Throughout The Day
“While just drinking enough water is a start in itself, studies do suggest sipping is better than glugging,” adds Rob. “A recent study showed the body responds to large intakes of water at once by flushing out what is not needed, hence frequent and often urgent trips to the loo. However, sipping smaller amounts throughout the day leads to less urgency and allows the body to process water more efficiently, meaning you remain more constantly hydrated.” To enable constant hydration, carrying a water bottle is a no-brainer. If you’re someone who struggles to drink water, invest in a bottle that has physical markers of how much you’ve sipped; try a smart bottle like LARQ; or look to brands like Waterdrop, which offers sugar- and sweetener-free dissolvable cubes to add to water.
Stick To Still Water
Fizzy water is better than nothing but shouldn’t be your go-to form of hydration, adds nutritional therapist Jen Walpole. “Sparkling water has been carbonated, which means it contains carbon dioxide – this is something we should be mindful of for our health,” she says. “Carbonated drinks have an acidic pH and are associated with symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux.” So, are some brands of sparkling water better than others? “Something like San Pellegrino, which is a natural mineral water, would be better than buying a soda water, which usually has no information on the origin or quality,” Jen continues.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Sugar If You’re Exercising
It’s a given that sugar-laden squash isn’t the best option for optimal hydration, but Jen says sugar could provide a much-needed boost if you’re exercising for more than an hour. “If you have an intense workout on the cards – think a tempo run, HIIT session or spin class – hydrate with 400-600ml of water two hours beforehand. Add a sports drink an hour before your workout if you’ll be exercising for more than 90 minutes or if you know you’ll be sweating a lot. Low-moderate exercise lasting up to 90 minutes doesn’t require additional hydration so long as hydration is met prior to exercise, while high intensity exercise will require an isotonic sports drink with around 8g of sugar per 100ml,” Jen tells us.
Top Up Your Electrolytes
What many of us don’t realise is that staying hydrated can’t happen with water alone. Good hydration requires electrolyte balance – and that means adding salt into the mix. “Salt may be the last thing we think of when it comes to hydration,” adds Rhian Stephenson, nutritionist, naturopath and founder of Artah. “But we need some salt as it provides electrolytes – charged minerals that regulate hydration by balancing fluids inside and outside your cells.” Adding a sprinkle of sea salt into a glass of water is a simple way to add electrolytes to the diet, while dedicated products like electrolyte tablets and powders provide a larger dose. “Artah’s Cellular Energy is a great product to keep electrolytes topped up - add a teaspoon to a glass of water and you’re good to go. If you like to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning, add a spoon to 500ml of water before your workout for enhanced performance,” Rhian advises.
Don’t Overdo Lemon Water
Adding fresh fruit to water is a far healthier alternative to squash, Rhian continues. “Adding certain flavours can enhance hydration. For example, lemons are a good source of potassium and contain electrolytes, while orange rind is rich in polyphenols and tastes delicious in iced water, while cucumber contains vitamins C and flavonoids, and lime has electrolytes and antioxidants.” However, choose your fruit wisely, says Rob. “Infusing water with fruit is a great way to make water more interesting – you can even experiment with mint and rosemary. Hot water and fresh mint is also very hydrating. However, don’t get into the habit of drinking hot water and lemon all day as the high acid content could impact the health of your teeth.”
Optimise Your Hydration With These Expert-Approved Products…
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme
DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.