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  • Rebecca D'Alton Goode

Let's talk hydration...

A question I have been hit with a lot recently has been about hydration and how much should people drink, is squash ok, what if I don't like water etc etc etc so I thought it was time for a blog to try to clear up a few things.

Let's start with what water does for us.

If you do one thing in your day for your health it should be to drink enough. It basically keeps you alive. And that's not being dramatic. Us humans can survive a pretty long time without food, but take water away and we are on a pretty quick road to decline.

Water forms the basis for all your cells, tissues, blood, bodily processes, elimination, lubricates joints, even bones are about 30% water. The adult male is about 60% water (more as a percentage if he's leaner, less if he has more body fat). Water is what keeps the body functioning and so with not drinking enough water you can start to see a picture as to why you might feel lethargic, like you cant perform mentally or physically and why its a situation we need to sort out.

The guidelines given out by the government are to aim for 1.5 - 2 litres of water a day. My suggestion is that is a little like the 5 portions of fruit and veg idea. They are trying to make something seem achievable, which I totally understand, but 3 litres of water, especially if you are active or taking medication is a much better goal to set your sites on if you want to achieve good health.

That might seem like a lot, but stick with me and I'll try to map it out for you.

So where do you start?

Honestly, at the beginning! When you wake in the morning the easiest thing to get your day started is to get a pint of water down...two if you can manage it and low and behold that will be a litre done!

Drinking a litre first thing in the morning (and an hour before exercise) is a great idea to get the fluid back in because we start to dehydrate over night, but also to aim in gently waking your systems after a night's sleep. Anyone who has been drinking this way for a while will also tell you that it makes a huge difference to their ability to perform physical activity so it can only be a good thing.

Throughout the rest of the day, if you have a few more pints, a couple of herbal teas and a bottle with you if you do any exercise then you will have nailed it.

My day looks like this:

- 2 pints on waking (sometimes warm with lemon depending on how I feel)

- 1 pint mug green tea at breakfast.

- 1 more mid morning

- a 750ml bottle with me during training

- 1 pint mug of red bush in the afternoon....

I will often have more than 3 litres, but I do a lot of cardio training because I am training for a half marathon and cardio is my turn to stress relief tool.

So what about squash?

I know that there are a lot of people who will say that they don't like water. They don't like the taste of water or they don't think they can drink that much, or the very common worry that they'll never stop going to the toilet. Let's tackle those one at a time...

Water can be flavoured with just about anything. It doesn't have to be squash. The problem with squash is that the sugar in it spikes your blood sugar response. Too much of that and it will put a lot of pressure on your insulin response. If you are looking to lose body fat this is going to stop you from burning fat during the time that the squash is being taken out of your blood stream... you can see then that if you are drinking 2-3 litres a day that you are going to spend an awful lot of the day in a fat storage state rather than fat burning.

Infusing water is so easy and can be done with anything you like...lemon, strawberries, mint, cucumber... just chuck it in a jug or bottle or water infuser bottle with two litres of water overnight and you have your fluid for the next day ready to go.

I personally can't be bothered with the faff and just opt for the 'get it down you' sort of attitude, but you also often find that the people who think they cant drink water without squash in it are having way too much sugar in their diet and when you clean up the rest of your food water actually becomes quite palatable.

I also know that it seems like a lot to get down if you are starting from a point of pretty much forgetting to drink other than the morning coffee at your desk, but making it a priority and an aim for the day makes it easier to remember and you'll be surprised how easy it becomes to include it into your daily routine.... #1 tip. Take a bottle of water with you wherever you go. And it's a little like tick follows tock as you remember to drink, feel better and mentally clearer it becomes easier to remember to drink!

Finally, the issue with the loo.... there isn't much to be done about that other than to say see it as a positive. Going regularly and being able to see you are hydrated is a huge indicator that what you are doing is making a difference. People will notice it in your skin, your energy and hopefully your happiness as your body will thanks you for helping it stay fantastic!!... I'm not however promising that we'll all be able to jump like this with a blue sky behind us in a shiny silver bikini simply by drinking water, but it's a start ;)


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