Because the body cannot store water (as what we have we excrete through urine and sweat), we must constantly provide and supply our bodies with water to maintain its many functioning systems.
Water contains zero energy in a caloric sense, however it is considered a nutrient as it comprises between 50 - 75% of our body’s composition.
Acting as a cooling agent for our body, water is also essential for all major bodily functions, such as:
Maintaining the health and integrity of every cell in the body
Aiding in blood circulation
Carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells
Helping to eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism
Regulating body temperature through sweating
Moisturising the skin
Moistening mucous membranes
Lubricating and cushioning joints
Aiding in digestion
Helping convert food to energy
Helping the body absorb nutrients
Protecting and cushioning vital organs
Contrary to popular belief, simply drinking water when you are thirsty is not good advice when it comes to properly hydrating the body. When the thirst mechanism activates, it is usually a sign the body is already under hydrated (and possibly headed toward dehydration). At this point, the body has to catch up to function properly.
Dry lips and tongue
Bright coloured or dark urine, or urine with a strong odour
Small volume of urine
Apathy or lack of energy
Sudden decline in performance or day-to-day activities (strength, energy, coordination, decision making, etc.)
How much water you need to drink on top of your current level will depend on many things like activity level, body weight and the amount of sleep you had the night before. Fatigue can cause you to dehydrate more quickly.
As a general rule, aim for 2-3 litres per day. Include an extra glass for every caffeinated beverage you consume and an extra 500ml- 1L for every hour of moderate-high intensity exercise. For a more precise formula, read my blog on the importance of hydration.
My favourite way to change the flavour of my water if I’m a bit bored is to choose some fresh herbs and fruit to flavour my water. Some yummy combinations I like are cucumber and raspberry, cucumber and lemon, orange and lemon, lemon and mint, cucumber and mint, raspberry and mint. Seems I like cucumber and mint a lot!
Invest in a beautiful stainless steel or glass water bottle. By carrying a water bottle around you are reminded to drink water when you are out and about, not just at home or work.
Compete with yourself. This is handy tip from our BePure community. They set themselves a target to drink by morning tea or midday or dinner time. One client uses traffic lights as a reminder to drink water! When sitting at traffic lights, they drink as much water as feels comfortable while the light is red until it turns green. This is a fun way to challenge yourself and see how much you can drink.
Lastly, prioritising proper hydration as part of your health goals will help you consume more water. Sometimes we need to engage in new behaviours even if they initially feel difficult just because we know they are good for us.
Also remember that all non-caffeinated herbal teas count towards your fluid intake. This is great in winter when it's cold and we want warming fluids and meals. You could also drink a smoothie with a water or coconut water base to help get your fluids up.
If you have any tricks for keeping your water interesting be sure to share them with us using the @bepurebenwarren on Instagram.
This blog is part of our 10 pillars of health series. Each week we will deliver content, recipes and challenges relevant to each pillar of health that we believe are the foundations for living a healthier, happier, more energised life. The idea being that if we focus on making progress in one area each week it will be easier, and more sustainable, over the long-term.
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