Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water. So what happens when we don’t drink enough water? And what are some easy ways of getting enough in?
One of the most common things I hear most at work is ‘I could probably stand to drink more water’. So don’t think you’re alone if you find you’re struggling to drink enough water each day.
What happens when we don’t drink enough water?
Drinking enough water on a daily basis has a significant impact on mental function. Research suggests it particularly effects memory and your ability to concentrate. Furthermore, a recent study has shown that driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving.
If you are physically active, water becomes even more important. Even 2% dehydration can significantly impact performance. For example, research shows a 17-second increase in time to a 1500m run. Dehydration also increases the chances of upset gut, particularly when exercising.
Being dehydrated also increases the chances of developing kidney stones, some types of cancer and heart problems.
How can you increase your fluid intake?
It is generally recommended to consume approximately 2L of water each day. In hot weather, or if you sweat profusely, more may be required. A good guide to go by is the colour of your urine; a pale yellow colour is what you should aim for.
Here are my favourite strategies for drinking enough water each day:
- Keep a bottle of water on your desk, or in your bag. Aim to finish the bottle by set times in the day, for example before lunch, then by the time you finish work, and another when you get home from work.
- Keep the water within eye sight, so it’s easy to access
- Set reminders in your phone or email
- Add slices of fruit, or use fresh herbs or spices to flavour your water
- If you travel regularly, take a full bottle of water with you on the flight, and drink this during the flight, plus anything extra the flight staff provide you with… if it's a long haul flight, add an extra 1-2 bottles to this.
I’d love to hear any strategies you have for drinking enough water!