Water is a huge part of any Nutrition plan but is also the most important component of our human body, it provides multitude of functions including transport of nutrients, elimination of waster products, sweating, maintenance of blood circulation, regulation of body temperature and many, many more. It is impossible to sustain life without it, with the body being able to survive over 40 days without food but not even 4 without water!
The most common change in fluid balance is due to exercise being undertaken, where your body secretes sweat made up of water and electrolytes- it is important to remember this amount of loss is variable from person to person. There are a few methods to measure your own hydration status. The first step is to weigh yourself before and after the exercise (nude) – below is a table to work out your status.
% Body Weight Change
Well Hydrated: -1 to +1 %
Minimal Dehydration: -1 to -3 %
Significant Dehydration: -3 to -5 %
Serious Dehydration: -5%
The next way you can check your hydration is the colour of your urine – the chart below gives you a good indication to check with:
What is dehydration?
When the body looses more fluids than it takes in this leads to dehydration which can lead to muscle fatigue, loss of coordination, heat exhaustion, decreased energy. Moderate caffeine intake does not affect hydration despite common opinion, however, alcohol will increase urine output and decrease hydration. To encourage the most effective uptake of water it should be just about tepid so the body does not need to change to the temperature of the liquid to reach optimum absorption rate.
What is overhydration?
Overhydration is actually far more dangerous and can result in vomiting, paralysis and risk of death. It is also commonly the cause of muscle cramps which is often wrongly associated with dehydration. Cramp is caused by an imbalance of electrolytes in the body and is often caused by drinking too much water diluting the electrolytes in the body. Consequently, during and after exercise should include a combination of water and electrolyte drinks. You should not consume more than one litre per hour of fluid.
CURRENT GUIDELINES – how much we should drink is incredibly variable from person to person. Click here to calculate the optimum amount for you to drink.
If you wish to have a tailored Nutrition plan to suit your needs, feel free to contact us
Elly Rees (MSc, Bsc, SENr) – Nutritionist
Personal Trainer Sevenoaks,
The Better Body Group