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Just keep drinking: hydration is key to health

Just keep drinking: hydration is key to health

Our cells need water; after all we are made up of 50-65% of the stuff. So it’s no wonder why if we fail to drink enough we stop performing properly.

Even mild dehydration can affect our vascular function almost as much as smoking one cigarette, says the European Journal of Nutrition, and it’s thought that dehydration could even play a role in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

We only start to feel thirsty when we’re at 2% dehydration, yet impairment from mild dehydration begins even earlier than this. It’s important to keep topped up with fluids to ensure you don’t reach this level

It’s thought that by taking on board just 1-3 more glasses of tap water each day could help with weight controlNutrients are better transported around the body when we’re hydrated, and by drinking we get a feeling of fullness that means we tend not to eat so much, hence why the weight is kept down.

Water regulates body temperature and keeps joints well oiled, all in all, it’s pretty good stuff.

The effects of a lack of hydration include dizziness, muscle cramps and tiredness so it’s important to check that you’re taking on enough fluids – and even more so when you’re exercising.

The way to check your hydration levels is to check the colour of your urine. If it’s colourless or light yellow, you are ok. If it’s dark yellow or amber, then you’re dehydrated.

It’s easy to forget to drink, so try carry a bottle of water with you at all times, or top up with fruit teas, or decaf hot drinks. Also, food contains water, so fruit and veg are your best bet for staying both hydrated and healthy.

 

the author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.

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