We are constantly being told to drink more water in the pursuit of our health and fitness goals. But why is it so important and how much do we actually need? Finally I will share some of my top tips for drinking more!
Grab a large glass of the clear stuff and have a read below..
Water makes up nearly 60% of our total bodyweight, which obviously shows how important the stuff is to general well being and survival. Just a 1-2% drop water levels can cause a serious dip in performance, and at even greater amounts can lead to more serious consequences such as dehydration, reduced muscle strength, reduced mental capacity, heat exhaustion, physical exhaustion and ultimately death. Obviously water is essential!
Here are some of the main reasons that we should be drinking plenty of the good stuff:
Water is key to every metabolic process which your body performs
Water is essential for carrying out a number of important bodily functions. It transports nutrients, hormones and oxygen to our cells; helps in the breakdown of food in digestion; helps in the synthesis of new proteins, glycogen and other macrominerals; acts as a body temperature regulator (sweating) and acts as padding and a shock absorber around our joints. Even a slight dip in fluid balance can see a dip in some of these processes.
Water will also help with fluid retention.
Yes drinking water can actually help you shed water weight. This is because the body starts to hoard and store water if it feels like it is in short supply which can make you look a bit puffy, a drinking water regularly will stop your body from storing as much as it recognises that it will be getting a constant intake and therefore has no need to do so.
Water helps to metabolise fat
It is the livers job to metabolise our stored fat for energy fat. Without enough water our kidneys cannot function and some of their work is taken over by the liver. If the over is now helping out our kidneys, it cannot metabolise as much fat. Priorities.
Water can curbs unnecessary food cravings
Next time you reach for the biscuit jar or emergency chocolate stash because you think you’re hungry, have a glass of water instead. Chances are you were just thirsty and that feeling will go away. Water can also act as an appetite suppressant, if you drink a big glass before a meal, chances are it will fill you up and you will eat less.
Water will give you clearer skin
The majority of people will be working in air-controlled environments, with the heating on full blast at this time of year; this can be moisture zapping for the skin. Adequate hydration will replenish this and give it a clearer complexion. Water is also used to transport toxins out of the body which will help clear your skin of dirt and bacteria.
Water helps improved brain function
If I ever begin to feel sluggish or my concentration dips, its more than likely that I haven’t drank enough. The brain is made up of 85% water therefore even a tiny dip in hydration can cause numerous symptoms including problems with focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anger, depression, and many more. Research suggests that it especially effects your maths skills, so if you work with numbers, get drinking!
How much should we be drinking?
The phrase 8 glasses a day is often banded about but I always struggled with this as surely it depends on the size of the glass?!
The typically recommended amount is 2-3litres per day however this can vary a lot depending on a number of things such as your gender, bodyweight, environment that you’re in and physical activity patterns.
- Generally larger people will need more water than smaller people.
- In warmer climates you will need to increase your intake.
- If exercising it is possible that you fluid needs might double, depending on the activity and intensity. Therefore it is recommended that you adequately hydrate before, during and afterwards. (NB chances are that if your goal is weight loss you do not need to consume a sports beverage such as Lucazade during your hour long gym session as you simply wont be working at a high enough intensity to warrant it! Instead opt for water or potentially BCAAs.)
My top tips for simple ways to increase your water consumption:
Brightly coloured 1litre water bottle
I carry a one litre water bottle with me practically everywhere I go! I know that once I have filled it and consumed the contents three times throughout the day then I have met my daily water intake. The fact it is so brightly coloured is also a constant reminder on my desk!
Drinking through a straw
For some reason I find drinking through a straw makes it easier to drink more(?) Works for me so might work for you.
Flavour your water
The biggest complaint I hear is that water is boring, it doesn’t taste of anything, so change that. I like to use sugar free squash or fresh fruit to flavour my drinks. Just add in a handful of berries, or some chopped lemon and mint to make for a tastier drink, there are plenty of different combinations. If using squash, make sure its the sugar free version though, no need for the necessary calories!
Use a Greens Powder
Ideally you should be getting all the micronutrients from your food intake, however the use of a greens powder can provide a good ‘insurance policy’ to ensure that you are hitting your daily quota. I mix one teaspoon in a litre of water in the morning to have with my breakfast. And no it doesn’t taste of grass. I get the tropical mix flavour from my protein, and it just tastes like squash, promise.
Water from your food
You can get some of your daily water quota from certain foods. Fruits and vegetables in their raw form such as cucumbers, carrots, strawberries can contain as much as 80-100% water. Another Benefit of eating these types of foods is that they will fill you up for minimum calories, so aim to increase your intake of these.
Set an alarm
And if all else fails simply set an alarm in your phone to go off a couple of times a day as a reminder!
I hope this blog post helps you to realise the importance of drinking water and that fitness professionals don’t just recommend it because it is something easy to say. It really is crucial to optimal body composition, performance and health!
Love Abi xxxx