The Importance of Water by Weightplan
Water is vital to keep us alive as our bodies are made up of about 60% water. We all know that a human can not survive for many days without water so it is essential for our health and wellbeing. We are all told at some stage in our lives that we are not drinking enough fluids on a daily basis. Studies have shown that when athletes become dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight sports performance is significantly reduced. Water is vital to all bodily functions and it regulates body temperature, metabolism, it acts as a lubricant to joints and makes up our saliva, it is important for digestion and the excretion of waste products from the body.
An excessive loss of fluid can have an adverse effect on health. Dehydration leads to a decrease in the volume of blood in the body which then causes our body temperature to increase, our heart then has to work harder to pump the smaller volume of blood around the circulation. Severe dehydration can result in laboured breathing, dizziness, weakness and confusion, and if this continues will lead to heat stroke, or in severe cases has be known to be fatal.
Many people suffer from mild dehydration without realising. Dehydration can be accumulative over days of not drinking enough particularly in hot environments, or through sweating during exercise or training. Symptoms of dehydration include; sluggishness, a general feeling of fatigue, loss of appetite, feeling excessively hot, light headedness and nausea. One way to tell if you are drinking enough is to check the colour of your urine and it should ideally be dilute, pale, ordourless and plenty of it. A dark coloured urine of small volume indicates dehydration.
How much should I be drinking?
Researchers suggest that we should drink 1000mls for every 1000 kcal we consume:
1800 kcal = 1800mls
2000kcal = 2 litres
2500kcal = 2.5 litres
3000kcal = 3 litres
You will need to drink more if in hot humid weather, or if water loss increases due to sweating, so keep a check on your urine colour.
Is it possible to drink too much water?
Yes, there have been reported cases of excessive water drinking seen in those taking part in prolonged exercise such as a marathon, when only plain water has been consumed with no salt replacement. This has resulted in runners collapsing and there are a few reported deaths each year due to hyponatraemia (which is when sodium in the blood is diluted and become dangerously low). Sports doctors are now more aware of this problem and most marathon events will now make sure that competitors have access to sodium containing drinks to prevent hyponatremia.
Can water help with weight reduction
A recent randomised control trial showed that those on the trial who drank 2 glasses of water before a meal three times per day lost more weight over a 12 week dietary programme compared to those who did not drink water before each meal. The water helps to fill up the stomach helping you feel full, and assisting in weight management. Also, by ensuring that dieters are adequately hydrated on a daily basis helps them to distinguish between thirst or hunger cues (which are often confused by people who diet).
• Have at least 8 glasses of fluids per day.
• Check the colour of your urine first thing to make sure you are hydrated.
• Always make sure you carry a bottle of water with you, or keep on your desk at work to remind you to drink.
• Increase your fluid intake if you are in a hot, humid climate, or if exercising.
• If trying to lose weight drink a couple of glasses of water before you each meal.
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