Have you just finished a rigorous exercise, a lengthy marathon, or a yoga class? Drink plenty of water, folks! Rehydrating is crucial after a strenuous workout since fluid losses must be made up. This is particularly true for Malaysians, who are now dealing with extended periods of extremely hot weather that can hasten fluid loss and make it tougher than it already is to remain hydrated.
How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?
Your water requirements will be influenced by the climate, as well as your age, size, gender, and amount of physical activity. Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) recommends that residents drink six to eight glasses of plain water daily. Although it seems like a lot, not all of it has to come from drinks.
Drinks should make up between 70% and 80% of the diet, with at least half coming from water and the rest coming from tea, coffee, milk, and other drinks in smaller amounts. The remaining 20–30% should come from foods high in water content, such fruits and vegetables.
Why Is It So Important To Stay Hydrated?
Almost every cell, tissue, and organ in the body depends on water to function properly. Here are several factors as to why maintaining hydration is so important:
- Water is essential for healthy digestion and nutrient delivery to your cells.
- It assists in controlling body temperature.
- Water also lubricates joints, organs, and tissues, and serves as a “shock absorber” for the brain and spinal cord.
- Water supports the functioning of your immune system by assisting in the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes and serving as an essential component of lymphatic fluid.
- Getting enough water may even aid with weight management.
Signs Of Dehydration
Your body sends a warning when you are dehydrated, which first manifests as thirst and a dry mouth. Additional indications that you may not be consuming enough water include:
- Dark Urine
- Bad Breath
- Muscle Fatigue
It’s crucial to monitor your daily fluid intake since by the time your thirst mechanism activates, you’re already somewhat dehydrated. In terms of hydration, Malaysians are doing better, with 3 in 4 Malaysian adults drinking enough plain water daily, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019. Making sure newborns and young children drink enough fluids is as important, though, since a recent meta-analysis found that children worldwide do not drink enough water to be hydrated.
Dehydration can be caused by simply not drinking enough water during the day, but there are additional factors that might play a role. You need more fluids if you’ve had diarrhoea or vomiting, or if you have a fever.
When exercising, it’s critical to maintain a healthy fluid intake both during exercise and afterward to ensure that fluid losses are properly replaced. Some sportsmen weigh themselves before and after a workout to determine how much fluid has to be replaced. To replenish fluid losses, you should consume roughly 2-3 cups of fluids for every pound of weight lost during exercise.
Besides Water, What Else Can Prevent Dehydration?
You may need to give your body more than simply plain water before and after exercise if you are exercising vigorously, for an extended period of time (more than 30 minutes), or in a hot or humid climate.
In addition to losing water as you perspire, essential minerals like salt, chloride, and potassium must also be supplied. These body salts, also known as electrolytes, are involved in numerous bodily functions but are particularly crucial for the healthy operation of your muscles, nerves, heart, and brain.
Electrolytes can be replenished with specially formulated sports drinks that offer both hydration and the ideal balance of electrolytes lost via perspiration. Some even include a little amount of carbs, which may be used as an energy source when exercising. Sports drinks often have a moderate, somewhat sweet flavour, which might tempt you to consume more of them.
Here Are Ways You Can Creatively Up Your Fluid Intake!
Even while we all know we should drink more water, we don’t always set ourselves up for success. Here are some suggestions to promote regular hydration:
- You’ll establish a healthy habit that can last a lifetime if you start your day with a large glass of water rather than coffee or tea.
- Examine the environment at work. If you frequently find yourself working at your desk, place a pitcher of water there each morning. As the day goes on, you’ll be inspired to sip on it and reach your goal of finishing it. It will act as a reminder to drink more.
- Make sure you have easy access to water if you’re in the field or on foot (or bring a water bottle with you).
- As you go about your day, set a timer or use an app on your smartphone or smartwatch to assist in reminding you to drink more water.
- Make it interesting by adding citrus, herbs, fruit, or a splash of juice to enhance the flavour, choosing a sparkling, unsweetened beverage, sipping on lemon tea, or keeping a pitcher in the refrigerator for a refreshing chilly blast on a hot day.
- Increase the amount of watery fruits you consume; all fruits and vegetables are beneficial, but melons, leafy greens, and cucumbers stand out.
- Soups can help you stay hydrated and increase the fullness of your meal, so think about having them before meals.
Penned by: Susan Bowerman, Senior Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition.
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