The human body is made of roughly 70% water and a human can survive almost a month without food, but only 3 days without water.
Aside from the vital role of life, hydration plays an important role in fat loss and muscle gain, as a hydrated cell works more efficiently and is better primed to burn fat and make energy.
We need water to perform properly because water aids digestion, energy levels and mood; even that mid-afternoon brain fog can be avoided with good hydration levels!
Low levels of fluid can lead to headaches, dizziness, lethargy, poor concentration and a dry mouth.
Everything functions better, the more water it gets. Think about a plant that has been neglected, it begins to look dishevelled, limp and dull. When a plant has been adequately watered, it blooms and looks alert and healthy. Try to think of yourself in this way.
Thirst is often confused with hunger, so if you ensure you are drinking enough, you may find that you do not feel the need to snack as much throughout the day.
The easiest way to look at it is: per 25kg of body weight, you roughly need 1 litre of water.
A typical glass of water is around 200ml, so 8-10 glasses of water per day is adequate.
If you are not a big water drinker at the moment, try not to jump straight into drinking 3 litres a day – take it slow and build up your intake over time. The water needs to be filtered by the kidneys so it is not recommended to dive straight into an amount that may overwhelm them.
Simply waiting for the sensation of thirst is not a good enough sign that you need to drink. By the time your body tells you that you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated and your body is possibly suffering from some of the effects.
The best indicator of good hydration is urine colour, pale being good and darker urine indicating that the body is in need of more fluid.
Water from a tap is a great (and free) choice, however, any fluid you consume counts towards your daily target. Water is calorie free and the most effective at hydrating our bodies, but coffee, tea, juice and milk are all 85% water so are effective hydrators too.
Be wary of drinks with added sugars, cream or full-fat milk because these can often be high in calories and should be saved as treats.
Your hydration levels will decrease after exercise as your body uses your water to cool you down, in the form of sweat. Therefore, during and after exercise, hydration is even more important and you should aim to up your intake throughout the day if you are going to be exercising.
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