So how can you tell if you’re properly hydrated?
Many sources suggest that an intake of 1-2 litres of water per day is necessary to ensure proper hydration, but this is a very rough guide. If you’re eating a wide variety of foods, you’ll gain a certain amount of your fluid needs from your diet. If you’re partial to coffee, the occasional glass of wine, or have a diet high in salt your need for additional water may be greater.
The key thing is to listen to your body carefully. We’re all aware of how it feels to have a raging thirst, after heavy exercise or in hot weather. But ideally you want to spot the signals of thirst earlier, before any negative effects kick in.
If you’re feeling slightly fatigued, have a mild headache, or minor digestive discomfort, before reaching for the coffee pot or the medicine cabinet try rehydrating. A standard glass of water can go a long way to reducing these initial signs of discomfort brought on by dehydration. You might be surprised at how quickly you feel the benefits. Naturally, the higher the quality and purity of the water, the better for your body.
Key times of day for checking your hydration levels are first thing in the morning and last thing at night – you want to set yourself up for a restful sleep, and on waking, it’s important to replenish the water lost overnight as perspiration or via breathing. Yes, that’s right, breathing! As much as half a litre of water per day leaves your body as water vapour exhaled into the air – although you may not be conscious of it.
If you’re the kind of person who dreads drinking glass after glass of plain water, it’s simple enough to add a slice of lemon, or handful of ice cubes to a cold glass, or try mint leaves or root ginger steeped in hot water as a warming alternative. Anything that stimulates your sense of taste, and ensures you keep a healthy intake.
Remember, water is life, and you have a lot ahead.