A lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration – as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight – can drain your energy and leave you feeling tired. Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and the very old. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
• Excessive thirst
• Dry mouth
• Little or no urination
• Muscle weakness
• Light headedness
How do I know if I am hydrated enough?
To ensure you stay hydrated, drink water even when you don’t feel thirsty; by the time you feel thirsty your body has lost between 2 and 5 cups of water.
A handy way to check if you are drinking enough water is to pinch the back of your hand whilst resting it on a flat surface. When you release the pinch, the skin should snap back into place. If it is slow in doing this, you are probably dehydrated.
Another simple way to check that you are drinking enough fluid is to check the colour of your urine. The more transparent it is, the more hydrated you are. You should seek to produce urine that is ‘pale yellow’ or ‘straw coloured’.
People often confuse mild feelings of thirst with mild hunger. Have a glass of cold water when you start to feel hungry.
How can I Increase my daily water intake?
Hot water with a good squeeze of fresh lemon is a good way to start the day. This will give your digestive system a real boost.
Caffeine and alcohol act as diuretics and thus cause the body to lose water. Instead of caffeine and alcohol, drink water.
Throughout the day have water constantly available; keep a water bottle on your desk so you can top up your glass throughout the day and carry a bottle of water with you when you are on the go.
Create a daily schedule; drink a glass after breakfast, one before lunch etc. You may want to track your water intake.
Ask for a glass of water to go with your coffee and tea in Cafes.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables as these have high water content and will contribute to your daily water intake.
How much water do I need?
The amount of fluid we need depends on how active we are and how warm it is. To stay healthy we should drink about 8 glasses or 1.2 to 2 litres per day.