You are 60% water, right? You know this already. You also know that you don’t absorb water through your feet as if you were a plant; you get this water by drinking it. You also use up water at an alarming rate and you really don’t need to lose much for it to have obvious and unpleasant effects.
Dehydration can be subtle
It’s not just about feeling very thirsty, having dark urine and crawling on the ground rasping “Water, water!”. Dehydration can have lots of other effects as well; some surprising, none of them good.
Slight dehydration can lead to a loss of concentration and energy, to irritability and even to clumsiness. That’s when you’ve lost around 1% of your body’s optimum water content. Any more than that and you’ll really start feeling it, with headaches, drowsiness and low blood pressure.
It’s easy to cure
You need around 1.5-2 litres of water a day to prevent dehydration; more if you’re particularly active or outside on a very hot day. The trick with water is, though, to take little drinks regularly, rather than guzzling down 500ml three times a day. This means your hydration levels are constant throughout the day and your kidneys can function smoothly.
Carry a refillable bottle around with you, or even some juicy fruit like watermelon or oranges to make a change. Some of your daily intake of fluid is actually from your food, especially if it has a high water content.
Also, these days there are many electrolyte blends which can be added to water in the same way as cordial. The difference with these is they are formulated specifically to replace the salt and other elements that we lose when we sweat including contain sodium, potassium, magnesium and more ! They are available in most good work wear stores.
Don’t worry about coffee
Yes, caffeine is a diuretic – it makes you wee more. However, coffee will only cause you problems if you down espressos every couple of hours. A longer coffee, like an Americano, has enough water in to make up for any extra water loss from the diuretic effect. If you love your espressos (and who doesn’t?), then do like the Italians do and have a glass of water on the side. You’ve got the best of both worlds then – a lift from caffeine and a well-hydrated body!