Fluid balance can drastically affect your mood, energy, cognitive function, physical performance and many other processes in the body. On the flip side, you don’t need to over-hydrate either, but drinking when thirsty is generally a good cue to go by.
Your body depends on water to survive! Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints also. If you’re not hydrating properly, you might feel sluggish, have muscle cramps, or feel light headed.
The Importance Of Adequate Hydration
Water is of major importance to all living organisms. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water which includes the brain and the heart which are comprised of 73% water and the lungs are about 83%. This illustrates the sheer magnitude of how important it is to hydrate properly for your general health and well-being.
Sports Hydration and Physical Performance
Many athletes endure prolonged and intense physical activity which results in a rise in core temperature. The result of an increase in core temperature and the effects of hard physical activity can lead to the loss of bodily fluids and electrolytes which can cause mild to moderate dehydration.
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals (chemicals) that conduct electricity when mixed with water. Electrolytes regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to negative health issues.
The electrolytes in the human body include: Sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and phosphate.
Why do you need electrolytes?
Electrolytes help regulate body fluids. They are an essential part of sport and exercise performance because they aid muscle and nerve functions.
Setting Your Hydration Goal
How much fluid should you be drinking per day to stay hydrated? As a guide, adults should aim for 1.5-2L per day (6-8 cups) and children 1-1.5L (4-6cups). This includes all drinks. If you’re exercising or playing sport, you will require a lot more.
Implementing Your Hydration Goals
Carry around a refillable water bottle with you throughout your day. If the bottle tells you how many litres it is, this makes it super easy to track how much water you’re drinking – just add up the number of times you refill it.
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Monitoring Your Hydration
Check your urine colour, the old tried and true method. Urine should be a light yellow colour to indicate proper hydration. Doesn’t need to be clear. If it’s dark yellow, you’ll know to increase your fluid intake.
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