Hydration Habits – Are You Drinking Enough?

Yes, the dreaded word – HYDRATION. Are you monitoring your fluid intake? Is it enough?

I, as an exercise professional, should have this down pat. Of course I drink two litres of water every day! Or do I? See if any of this rings true for you.

Yesterday I had a few minor disruptions to my day. Who doesn’t have disruptions? Driving home from the vet with my cat (THAT is a WHOLE other story!), I realised all I had drunk all day was three cups of coffee. One with breakfast, one after my manicure and one with lunch. It was now 6:30 pm. So I had drunk no more than 660 mls of white coffee. I’d had yoghurt on my breakfast, not even milk! I had thrown down the morning medications with some water, but what was that? 100 mls max?

As we get older there is an added problem – we tend not to recognise we are thirsty. Even before that stage of life hits us, we can think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty – and for those of us managing our weight in order to manage pain, eating instead of drinking is not a wonderful thing.

At my desk job I am good. As soon as I arrive in the office, I fill this water container. it is 900 mls and I finish it by lunch time. Refill, repeat.

When working out I am good! I may be a little too pink, but I’m good.

OK, you got me, two of those are protein shakers, but the shot does illustrate maybe I should try a change of colour next time. I DO have a dark blue water bottle as well. I’m not exactly short of water bottles: one permanently in the office, one permanently in my gym pack and a third floating about.

It is when I am home I find I am very slack. Why can’t I do the same thing at home as I do meticulously in the office and the gym, even at the pool? I do not know. I am working very hard on establishing better personal hydration habits.

It seems at home the water bottle is just never where I am. If I’m in the lounge, the water bottle is in the kitchen. If I’m in the kitchen, the water bottle is in the bedroom. Plus I have a tendency not to use a water bottle at home: I have a tap and glasses right there, after all!

It is spring in Australia, at least it is spring in the states that have four seasons! The blossoms are everywhere in Melbourne. In parts of Australia we are having a terrible drought, nothing is growing, in fact much is not surviving, let alone growing.

Like plants, we don’t do well without adequate and appropriate hydration. The Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council has good detail about our need for water. Please click on that link and read the detail. Emphasis added in the quotation below.

Dehydration of as little as 2% loss of body weight results in impaired physiological responses and performance. The reported health effects of chronic mild dehydration and poor fluid intake include increased risk of kidney stones (Borghi et al 1996, Hughes & Norman 1992, Iguchi et al 1990, Embon et al 1990), urinary tract cancers (Bitterman et al 1991, Wilkens et al 1996, Michaud et al1999), colon cancer (Shannon et al 1996) and mitral valve prolapse (Lax et al 1992) as well as diminished physical and mental performance (Armstrong et al 1985, Brooks & Fahey 1984, Brouns et al 1992, Cheung et al 1998, Kristel-Boneh et al 1988, Torranin et al 1979, Sawka & Pandolf 1990).

If you feel thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. If you have a medical issue that compromises your ability to recognise thirst, you need to be extra vigilant.

Adult men need about 2.6 litres of fluid a day and adult women about 2.1 litres. This is over and above the fluid intake from food. More may be required depending on activity levels, climate and body weight. Medibank has a handy calculator based on age and gender, but it does not take into account climate extremes, exertion or body weight.

Around 50-80% of our body weight is water. The higher our lean mass, the higher the water content. We need water for most body processes including digestion, absorbing and transporting nutrients, disposing of waste products and keeping our body temperature stable.

Source: Medibank

It is said our skin looks better if we are properly hydrated. From my personal experience, I totally agree. Dehydration can add years to the face and who wants that? Not me!

Those of us with health challenges need to make sure we give our bodies all the help we can: hydration is important.

How are your hydration habits? Please share in the comments.

Published by

Robyn Dunphy

I offer exercise guidance to those with chronic medical conditions where exercise is beneficial.

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