Why is hydration important?

Why is hydration so important?

People are always telling us to drink water and to stay hydrated but have you ever stopped and wondered why is hydration so important?

A large percentage of the human body, including the brain and heart, are made up of water. Water being a vital component of the majority of body parts is not the only reason why it is essential that we stay hydrated. It is an essential part of many different processes within the body. Some examples of these include the following:

●Regulates body temperature

●Aids in the formation of saliva, an essential to our digestive system as it helps us break down carbohydrates

●Metabolise and transport carbohydrates and proteins around the body

●Assists with removing toxins and bodily wastes, making the kidneys jobs easier

●Acts like a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord

●Acts as a shock absorber during pregnancy

●Aids in delivering oxygen around the body

●Lubricates the joints

How much water do we actually need?

We are constantly expelling water throughout the day in many different ways; through our breath, perspiration and going to the toilet, so we need to be rehydrating. Almost everyone has heard the 8 glasses a day rule, although a great starting point, this is not necessarily correct for everyone. Like most things, everyone’s requirements are different.

Typically men require more water than women. according to Mayo Clinic men will require around 3.7 L and women 2.7L. This may sound like a lot, but not all of this comes just from drinking water, water is also taken in through the food that we eat and other beverages that we consume. This number will also vary depending on a variety of different factors, some of those include:

●The amount of exercise being done, the more we exercise the more water we need

●Weather – the hotter or more humid it is the more water we are losing so the more hydration we need

●Well being – If we are experiencing fevers, diarrhoea or vomiting it is essential that we tryto increase fluid intake.

How do I know if I have had enough water?

If you are getting enough water then your urine will be light yellow or even colorless and you will not feel as thirsty. The risk of drinking too much water is rare, but it can happen. In that case the kidneys are unable to get rid of the excess water and the sodium in our blood becomes diluted resulting in hyponatremia

Belicia Ralph - Osteopath Brisbane
Belicia Ralph – Associate Osteopath at Move Osteopathy Brisbane City.

Written by: Dr Belicia Ralph – Associate Osteopath

Belicia graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with a double bachelor of Health Science and Applied Science (Osteopathy). Since graduating Belicia has also completed qualifications in Dry needling and balanced ligamentous tension. Belicia works at our Brisbane City Clinic

How much water do you really need? And how to drink more.

Health benefits of water
Water makes up about 60 precent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
How much water do you need?
The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 litres) of total beverages a day, for women it is about 9 cups (2.2 litres) of total beverages a day.
Factors that influence water needs
You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on

  1. Exercise or how active you are,
  2. Climate you live in, (hot, cold, altitude, humid, dry etc)
  3. Health status (fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea, heart, kidney or liver problems)
  4. Pregnant or breast-feeding.

Other sources of water
What you eat can provide a significant portion of your fluid needs (about 20 percent of total water intake for average person). Eg fruits and vegetables. Other drinks such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water, but beware of caffeinated and sugar loaded beverages

Osteopath Dr Sam Nevis

“It is easy to adapt to the dry heat in country Victoria (where I grew up); wear sunscreen, stay in the shade, exercise early or later on that day.  I have been living in Brisbane for a little over a month now and I am learning ways to cope with Queensland’s humidity. Otherwise I have found myself hot, lethargic and ‘headachy’.

I enjoy being active before and after work and believe it is important to have a work – lifestyle balance that you enjoy. For me this consists of going to the gym, swimming and football training. For me to be consistent with this routine in a new climate, I have had to be proactive in keeping a high energy level and to avoid dehydration.

Early signs of dehydration include increased thirst, nausea, dry mouth, headache as well as darker yellow urine. This can then lead to light headedness, cramps and disorientation for moderate to severe signs that the body is dehydrated.

I have found that drinking water consistently during the day from first thing in the mornings, at lunchtime and evenings, before I feel the need to helps prevent the early signs of dehydration. Having a drink bottle sitting next to me on the desk reminds me to drink throughout the day.

I have learnt the more active I want to be the more water I need to drink.”

7 tips to keep you drinking enough water

  1. Set a specific goal for the day.
  2. Invest in a water bottle that you’ll actually use — and keep it close.
  3. use an app to track progress
  4. infuse your water with fruit or herbs
  5. put drinking water into daily routines that you already have. or set specific hours of the day when your bottle should be emptied and refilled
  6. using straws can make you drink more apparently!
  7. hydrate with water based foods – soups, juices smoothies but beware caffeinated and sugary drinks

Want to read more?

What happens when you increase your water intake?
Check out this article and photos of a woman who staretd drinking 3 litres of water a day and see the dramatic changes! read
Need to re-hydrate after exercise?

Did you miss our article we posted on the best fluid to rehydrate after exercise? You’ll be surprised!  read