Water and hydration
As we are now well into the summer of 2019, I think it’s important to remember that drinking water can not only help re-hydrate you, but is the cheap option for quenching a thirst. You can get it from a tap or a bottle in a shop, but water is consistently viewed as being vital for keeping a healthy body and for our general wellbeing.
Water makes up two thirds of our body. 66%. Seeing that figure is quite staggering. It is therefore vital that we keep a healthy balance of fluids by drinking enough. Dehydration can occur when people do not drink enough or because they lose fluids and don’t replace them. Keeping a good level of hydration can prevent issues such as headaches, dizziness, confusion, lacking in concentration, kidney stones, and general poor health, among others.
In severe cases, being dehydrated can be life-threatening if it is left untreated. The symptoms of severe dehydration, which would require immediate medical attention, include having a weak pulse, having a rapid pulse, not passing urine for eight hours, feeling unusually tired, lethargic, or confused, and having a low level of consciousness.
It is recommended that at least 6-8 glasses of fluids should be drunk throughout the day, at regular intervals. These fluids could be water, diluted squash and/or fruit juice. It’s also important to note that flavoured water drinks may actually contain a large amount of sugar, so I would check the label before buying them to see what the score with them is.
Anyone can become dehydrated, but certain groups of people can be especially at risk of it. These groups include babies and infants; because of their low body weight they are sensitive to even a small amount of fluid loss; and also people with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes. Athletes can lose a lot of fluid through sweat when they are exercising so they need to be mindful of their fluid intake, and older people may be less aware of their hydration levels.
As I have said, it is of course not only water that can be drunk to maintain a healthy level of fluids in the body, but it is one of, if not the, most beneficial. Along with keeping a person hydrated, some of the other benefits of drinking water are that it doesn’t contain any calories, doesn’t contain any sugars that can harm your teeth, and can also aid weight loss. Drinking water can make you feel more full and therefore can enable less food, and therefore calories, to be consumed. Of course, water is no substitute for a healthy balanced diet, but it can be used to help with over-eating.
I have always loved drinking water and so I probably take it for granted, but I know some people hate it because it has no taste. For me, there is no drink better than a nice cold glass of water, preferably with some ice, but that is a luxury! As stated above, there are alternatives to water that will keep your fluids levels up, but whatever way it’s done, maintaining fluid levels is vital.
Sarah Keeping MBPsS MSc PgDip GDip BA (Hons)
Follow Sarah on twitter at @keepingapproach