During the summertime, it is quite simple for us to know when our body needs water. Dry lips. Dizziness. Dry mouth. Fatigue. Just to name a few. But during winter, it is a lot harder for us to gauge when our body is on the verge of dehydration. One key sign that never fails to let us know when we are dehydrated is the colour of our urine - dark yellow urine is a tell-tale sign of dehydration, we want to aim for clear coloured / very pale yellow urine.
You may think to yourself, it is just water, not drinking enough won’t do anything to me – wrong! A lack of hydration can contribute to several issues (2):
- Decreased physical performance.
- Dehydrations levels as low as 2% can cause reduced endurance and motivation levels and increase fatigue).
- Decreased cognitive performance and memory loss.
- Even a mild form of dehydration can affect concentration, alertness, and short-term memory.
- Impared Gut function and constipation.
- Water is required to make our stools easy to pass.
- Impared Kidney function.
- Our kidneys require water to filter through the waste found in our blood stream and excretion via our urine. Not only that, they are also responsible for regulating our blood pressure and water balance.
- Heart function, as blood volume is regulated by water intake.
- Skin Issues.
- Contains approximately 30% water which contributes to its overall elasticity, resilience, and plumpness. Low water equates to poor skin health.
To keep yourself hydrated and avoid dehydration, below are approximate daily water intake guidelines:
Women should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, equating to approximately 2.1L (not inclusive of pregnancy or lactation).
Men should be drinking at least 10 glasses of water a day, which equates to around 2.6L (1).
For some, it is a lot easier said than done, especially for those where drinking water is not a part of their daily routine. Below are 5 tips to help you stay hydrated during the winter (and summer!).
Keep track of your sips daily
Keeping a record of how much water consumed throughout the day can be quite a life saver for some people. In saying this, we have some handy mobile apps to remind us when to stop for a drink.
Some popular apps include (on the Apple Store):
- Drink Water Reminder N Tracker
- My Water & Drink Reminder
- Plant Nanny (combined with a plant watering game to remind you to drink water)
Or even give a good old-fashioned pen and paper a go, keep a diary of your water intake, most exercise diaries will have a water intake section.
Invest in a large water bottle
Alongside, losing track of water intake, I hear the same lines over and over again, “I always forget my bottle at home”, “I don’t have time to drink at work”, “there is no tap close to me for a refill”. Now do not get me wrong, I completely understand and empathise as I have also been on that end, but when there is a will there's a way. At home, I have my own 2.2L BPA free water bottle, when I purchased this, I tried to get into the habit of taking it with me everywhere. Of course, at the start I forgot it at home a handful of times, but once I got into the routine of bringing it with me everywhere, it just became a habit.
Don’t like water? No worries
This was quite a common issue with many of my clients that they do not enjoy drinking water due to the lack of taste (my Dad being one). There are many ways that you can spice up the taste of your water.
- Purchase a powdered amino acid (brands such as Scivation & Optimum Nutrition), these will add great flavours to your water, alongside the awesome benefits of added electrolytes and amino acids. I personally love Scivation Xtend in Grape!
- Add in some frozen or fresh fruits to the mix. This is a great way to add some tang and sweetness to your water, also if you choose to go down the frozen fruit route, this will keep your water chilled for longer!
- Used to drinking soft drinks? That’s ok! Swap out or reduce your soft drinks for sparkling or mineral water, add some lemon and lime and a natural sweetener (or without).
Remember, there is water content in other foods!
We all seem to forget that we get approximately 20% of our water intake from other food sources, but don’t rely on this, as this is nowhere near enough to satisfy your recommended daily intake! Food sources include:
- Fruits such as, watermelon, mango, orange, apples, pineapple, and cantaloupe.
Vegetables such as, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, celery, radishes, and capsicum.
- Drinks such as, herbal teas, milk, juices, coconut water (contains electrolytes too!) and coffee.
- Even foods such as, soups, yoghurts, and smoothies!
Written by our in-house Nutritionist. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call us on (03) 9318-3455 or visit us in store.