We might be having one of the wettest summers since records began (yes, we’re not lying, it is actually summer), but in spite of sodden fields and mammoth puddles, it’s important to remember that your body still needs plenty of water. And no, getting caught in a downpour doesn’t count.
That’s because hydration is all kinds of important for your overall health; and that’s especially true when you work in polluted, overcrowded cities that suck the moisture out of you quicker than a sponge on a tea-spill.
When you don’t get enough to drink, dehydration can seriously slow your brain, body, and professional performance — and no-one wants to be functioning at 50%. The problem is, if you’re used to not drinking all that much in the first place, it can be hard to tell when you are dehydrated.
How to spot when you should be drinking more (and we don’t mean wine)
Ok, so your skin might not immediately shrivel up a la The Mummy, but there are some pretty big indicators that should leave you reaching for the nearest water bottle. Well, not necessarily the nearest. Not if it’s someone else’s. That would just be stealing (unless it’s your mum’s, friend’s or partner’s of course — they have to share).
Feeling thirsty is the most glaringly obvious sign that you need some liquid in you quick sharp, but you should also look out for:
- Dark-coloured urine and not passing much urine when you go to the toilet
- Lack of energy
- Feeling lightheaded
How much water should you be drinking?
We’ll get it over with now and admit we’re not medical experts, but luckily, the lovely people over at the Department for Health are, and according to them, you should be drinking 1.2 litres (about six 200ml or eight 150ml glasses) of liquid a day.
What you drink is up to you, but as caffeine, fizzy drinks and too much fruit juice can be bad for you, water is the king of all hydrators. If you find water intolerably boring, you could squeeze in some fresh lime, or go for the sparkling option to really quench your thirst. And let’s not forget the health benefits behind milk — calcium and hydration in one.
A good way of keeping your fluid levels up throughout the day is to have a bottle of water on your desk at all times. And in place of those seven cups of coffee, why not try adding a few mint leaves to hot water?
Of course the guidelines don’t just apply to your working week alone. When it comes to weekend or after work drinks, try to stay on top of ‘good’ fluids by drinking a glass of water in-between alcoholic ones. Alcohol is about as dehydrating as it gets, so don’t let your efforts go to waste when you leave the office.
So remember: keep a water bottle on your desk, drink plenty during the evening and weekends, and try to mix it up a bit so you don’t get bored. Then all that’s left to do is enjoy feeling great.
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