Water is vitally important as it makes up about two-thirds of our body weight and most of the chemical reactions that happen in our cells need water. Water is also needed for our blood to be able to circulate nutrients around the body.
Loss of water
As the body functions waste products are produced with some being toxic. These toxins are removed from the body through the kidneys in urine, and urine mostly consists of water. Evaporation is also another way in which we lose water, through breathing and sweating. Increases in temperature and activities result in an increase in the amount of water the body loses.
In order to maintain a healthy body, you must drink plenty of fluids, replacing what you lose each day, especially in hot weather or during training (water loss increases).
The UK climate requires us to drink approximately 6-8 glasses (1.2 litres) of water each day, which will prevent dehydration. Remember to drink more in hotter temperatures and when exercising.
Signs of dehydration
If you feel you are lacking water and might be dehydrated, check to see if you are showing any of the following list of common signs of dehydration:
- Lack of concentration
- Dark-coloured urine and/or not passing much when going to the toilet
- Confusion & irritability
Alcohol should be drunk in moderation. Having the occasional drink won’t affect your health but drinking too much can cause serious problems, such as liver failure. Alcohol is also high in calories, so reducing the amount you consume could help you control your weight.
Women can drink up to 2 – 3 units of alcohol a day and men up to 3 – 4 units, without significant risk to their health.
A unit is measured as half a pint of standard strength (3 to 5% ABV) beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of spirit. A glass of wine is about 2 units and alcopops are around 1.5 units.
To maintain a healthy body it’s a good idea to spread your drinking throughout the week and avoid binge drinking.