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Why staying hydrated matters

About two thirds of your body is made up of water, so it’s really important to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water helps your body regulate its temperature, keeps your joints lubricated, helps deliver nutrients to cells, as well as keeping your organs functioning and improving your sleep and mood.

How much water do you need?

In general, adults should aim to drink around 1.5litres of water each day, or more if you’re exercising.

You don’t have to drink plain water to stay hydrated. Squash, milk, teas, and coffee all count. Fruit juice also counts but it is high in sugar, so should be drunk in moderation and limited to 150ml (one small glass) a day. Likewise, fizzy drinks such as cola or energy drinks aren’t healthy options and should be avoided, or at least limited. Alcohol doesn’t count.

A mug of tea / coffee is usually around 250ml. You’d need 6 of these to reach 1.5l.

A pint glass to the brim is 568ml (or just below is about 500ml). You’d need about 3 of these to reach 1.5l.

A short tumbler is typically 250ml. You’d need about 6 of these to reach 1.5l.

Tip: Fill the cups and glasses you usually use with water thenpour each into a measuring jug to see how much they hold.

The benefits of hydration

  • Improved mental clarity – fight the foggy feeling by staying hydrated.

  • More energy – A glass of water and an apple are more effective at waking you up in the morning than a coffee hit, and your body uses water to flush out lethargy inducing toxins.

  • Fewer headaches – Dehydration is known to cause headaches, so if you’re a regular sufferer, try topping up your fluid intake.

  • Healthy digestion – water gets things flowing smoothly and helps prevent constipation.

  • Healthy skin – Water is the best moisturiser available when you drink enough of it.

What happens when you don’t drink enough?

When you don’t drink enough, you can become dehydrated which can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as dry mouth, lips, or eyes, pain when urinating, headaches, tiredness, and trouble concentrating.

If you notice any of these symptoms, drink some water to rehydrate yourself.

When you’re dehydrated your urine gets darker and can smell stronger too. You can check the colour of your urine each time you go to the loo and make sure it’s not too dark.

Severe dehydration can cause serious problems and can be life-threatening.

5 tips for staying hydrated

  1. Carry a bottle of water with you - There are some great looking water bottles available - pick one that suits you, find out how much water it holds and keep it topped up and with you wherever you go.

  2. Don’t forget - Try setting a reminder on your phone or computer if you find yourself forgetting to drink throughout the day. There are free apps that will remind you and help you keep track of how much you’ve drunk so far.

  3. Mealtimes - Having a glass of water with each meal is a great way to keep up your intake. Make it a habit and this will be an easy way to include an extra glass of water in your day.

  4. Match your activity – It’s important to drink more water when you exercise. Dehydration can adversely affect your performance, and you lose water faster whilst exercising through your sweat. Aim to drink 500ml 4 hours before exercising and take a bottle with you to top up as necessary.

  5. Mix it up - If plain water leaves you uninspired, why not add natural flavour by putting a slice of fruit in your water. Lemon is a classic, but you can experiment with other fruits and flavours to find one you like.

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Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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