It’s almost time to get outdoors and exercise as the weather becomes cooler and more bearable. But we must remember, that we are still in the desert and staying hydrated is really important. 

Water, known as H2O by its chemical formula, is the best source of hydration. Our human body is made up of 60% water. We lose water through perspiration when we sweat or when we urinate. We can increase the amount of water we have from drinking and from the foods we eat.
When we are thirsty, we are already dehydrated. This is how the body tells us, by sending a signal to the brain to get us to drink. A 1% loss of body mass due to fluid loss is known as dehydration.

Here are some key facts in relation to dehydration:
• Thirst
– is the sign we are already dehydrated and we have a dry mouth
• Skin – becomes dry and shows more wrinkles
• Physical – around 2% decrease in hydration levels can affect performance by 20%
• Mental – can affect cognitive performance, visual vigilance and is related to tension and loss of memory
• Weight Loss – drinking water instead if sugary drinks will promote fat loss and weight loss
• Studies say – you need to drink around 2 Litres of water a day and that is without exercising.

Exercise causes the body core temperature to increase which causes us to sweat. When we sweat due to the rise in heat and temperature, we lose not only water but vitamins and minerals also so you should increase your water intake if you are exercising.

If you drink caffeine-rich drinks, then these will also dehydrate you. You will find that you go to the toilet a lot. What you are essentially doing here, is urinating the water out of your body and replacing it with caffeine. Then the following day, your body is severely dehydrated. You then feel hungry and crave all the bad foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats. This is a Personal Trainers worst nightmare and a viscous circle. Hydrating yourself with water before you go to bed will reduce these symptoms.

So how can you be healthier? Well, you can drink more. But what if you don’t like water? Then you can use lemon or lime to make infused water. This adds a bit of flavour without the sugar content of a sugary drink and without the calories. Below are some calorie intake estimates from our fellows at the personal fitness coaching online service:

• Can of Coke = 260 kcal
• Orange juice = 120 kcal
• Latte = 200 kcal
• Hot chocolate = 230 kcal
• Green tea = 140 kcal
• Water = 0 kcal

Obviously, the serving size of each drink will determine the total amount of calories but it’s worth choosing the less calorie high options if you really want to lose weight. Try it, stay hydrated and feel more alert! ■

Nicky Holland
Personal Trainer
Instagram @nicky__fitness