Tips on Hydration

Hydration is one of the most critical aspects of our health and wellbeing. Maintaining hydration is one of the simplest things we can do to get a wide range of positive health outcomes, yet so often we stay chronically dehydrated, not realising the effects that dehydration can have on our brain and our body.

It may be difficult to drink enough water on a busy day. Be sure you have water handy at all times by keeping a bottle for water with you when you are working, travelling or exercising. If you get bored with plain water, add a bit of lemon or lime, some fresh mint or cucumber for a touch of flavour. There are some brands of flavoured water available, but watch for high sugar contents, making your own is also so much cheaper!

Water intake recommendations

Carry a bottle: A lot of people find it useful to get a drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. You can keep it at your workstation; once it’s empty it’s a reminder to refill it and a good excuse to get up from your workstation!

Set a reminder: Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, put a reminder in your phone or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don't forget to drink water.

Substitute water: If you would normally get a soft drink or an alcoholic beverage, have a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

Filter: Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home. It'll make tap water taste like bottled at a fraction of the price.

Exercise: Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It's not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise; these are usually full of marketing messages and sugar. Just drink water. If you're going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple of hours ahead so it will get through your system in time. Drink during and after exercise as well.

Track it: It often helps when forming a new habit to keep track of it. It increases awareness and helps you ensure that you're staying on track. Keep a little log (it can be done on an index card or a notebook), which can be as simple as a tick mark for each glass/bottle of water you drink.

How do I know if I am dehydrated?

The easiest way to gauge your hydration level is by simply checking the colour of your urine. Clear to light yellow indicates a healthy level of hydration. Bright to dark yellow means the body is low on fluids; the darker the pigment of the urine, the lower the fluid level in the body. Some of the symptoms you may experience are dizziness, irritability, reduced athletic ability, cramps and headaches.

If you are feeling thirsty then it’s too late – you are already dehydrated!

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