The importance of drinking water cannot be understated and it is no secret that we have talked about it on numerous occasions here at 10 tips. However, while we have spoken on how to add more water into your routine and boosting the amount in your diet, it’s time to focus on even more great methods to give your body all the hydration it needs to operate at its full potential. Read on for everything you need to know to make the most of all the possibilities – and there’s much more to it than just water alone.
1. Switch to Sports Drinks When Appropriate
There are various times throughout the day when you’re likely to be at your most dehydrated. The first each day is when you first get up and replacing the water you’ve lost overnight should be top of the priority list. Other than that, you’ll need the most rehydration when you’ve done some physical activity.
In many cases, water will get the job done. However, there’s a reason why the market for sports drinks is such a colossal one, and why professional athletes use them for more than just the sponsorship fee. As well as emulating water, these drinks will also replace lost electrolytes – something that water alone is incapable of.
2. Keep Fruit to Hand when You Need Hydrating
While we’ve dedicated entire features to the water benefits of certain foods, fruits and vegetables can do the same as sports drinks. They mostly contain plenty of water and they too will replace electrolytes lost during exercise. If you choose the best fruits for your needs correctly, you’ll also find that many of them are packed with carbohydrates, which can be just the burst of quick energy you need during intense workout sessions.
3. Drink Before Exercise
Some people try to avoid drinking fluids before they exercise. They might not want to feel it sloshing around inside them while they move, or they might not want to stop what they’re doing to visit the toilet. However, a little preparation goes a long way, especially when it comes to staying hydrated for as long as you need to. Crucially, you don’t want to go overboard in this preparation. Just 500ml of water around an hour before you start a session can be all it takes to keep your performance at peak levels for the duration of your workout.
4. Pack More than Just Water into Your Recovery Drinks
As noted, sports drinks are often better than water in specific, exercise-related scenarios. However, they are not the only option and taking on board fluids is just as important as stretching and warming down. A particular favourite option is a smoothie, which combines the benefits of water, together with several different fruits and vegetables, to ensure that your body has everything it needs to get back to normal after a period of exertion.
5. Keep an Eye on Toilet Habits
While not something we’ll cover in too much detail here, it is always important to remember that your body is always happy to tell you when you’re not sufficiently hydrated. It does, perhaps unintentionally, by changing the colour of your urine. If it’s pale yellow or clear, then you’re adequately hydrated. Any darker than this, however, and you need to take on more water to maintain peak performance.
6. A Dry Mouth Should Be Addressed Immediately
There are other signs of dehydration. Unless you regularly have a dry mouth for whatever reason, you shouldn’t need any assistance in noticing when something isn’t quite right. As you’re undoubtedly aware, your mouth should be wet at all times. If it’s not, the body may not have all the water it needs to operate normally. While the mouth is the obvious place, it could also affect other areas in the body. It’s a simple fix – if your mouth is dry, drink some water!
7. Understand More Serious Symptoms
Dark urine and a dry mouth can be inconvenient indicators of dehydration, but things can get worse and if you’ve been without water for a time, or worked particularly hard recently, it’s essential to understand the signs that you need more water or potentially even medical assistance. Dizziness and nausea are the most common signs and while all sorts of factors can cause them, potential dehydration is among the easiest to remedy.
8. Try the Pinch Test
If you’re worried about dehydration, you can try pinching the skin on the back of your hand. If it takes time to return to normal, there may not be enough water in your cells to maintain the standard level of elasticity you’re used to. Once again, if this proves to be the case – and it doesn’t work for everyone – you should think about bringing more water on board to get back to normal.
9. Cut Down on Fluids that can Dehydrate
Hydration might sound like something that can be maintained simply by taking on as much water as possible, but it rarely works out quite like that. Indeed, some liquids will not only fail to aid in hydration; they’ll swing things in the opposite and wrong direction. Alcohol and caffeine rank among the significant suspects here, as both are diuretics.
If you’ve heard the term but don’t know what it means, it basically entails preventing the right amount of water being absorbed into the blood. In effect, that means you need to take on more water just to maintain balance.
10. Use Hydration to Avoid Overeating
Thirst and hunger can be hard to distinguish. If you’re making significant lifestyle changes, the chances are you don’t want to put on weight. That means you should learn to differentiate between the two feelings. If in doubt, have water first as that won’t see you piling on the pounds. While liquids shouldn’t replace a balanced diet, they can be vital to reaching your goals.