Fitness on Toast's Faya Nilsson tells us why we should be reaching for the clear stuff before anything else.
We Are What We Drink
Water is one of the healthiest and guilt-free ways to hydrate as it has no calories or sugar; feeling good starts with healthy hydration, and this is the single most underappreciated wellbeing tip I can offer. The body is made up of about 60% water and it helps carry nutrients and waste products between our major organs, helping to regulate body temperature. Research shows that losses of 2% or more of body weight due to dehydration can reduce your mental performance, so when you’re 100% hydrated, you’re much more likely to be on top of your game – mentally, physically and emotionally. When you’re exercising, water keeps the joints supple, can restore energy levels, can quash hunger pangs, helps the kidneys do their filtration job, and even takes the nutrients in your food on a journey through your digestive system!
Get The Water Habit – Make a Plan
Whilst I aim for 1.5 litres a day, I understand that this is often hard to stick to, so I would suggest getting into the habit of sipping water in small amounts throughout the day. This way, you won’t leave it until the end of the day and suddenly think ‘oh wait how much water did I actually have today?’ Chugging the entire bottle which will just pass straight through you and put your kidneys under unnecessary stress. If you’re exercising make a plan based on your personal sweat rates and water loss – different sports pose different challenges for hydration, so think about how you personally can tailor your activities to take in water regularly while keeping active. In the end, the best quality hydration comes from training the mind to naturally direct you to water on a regular basis.
Sip Your Way To Fitness
It’s important to drink water before, during and after exercise to stay hydrated throughout. Recent studies have shown a 2% loss in body mass can lead to a decrease of 20% in performance levels for people carrying out prolonged exercise - up to 40% in hot temperatures! (NHC Hydration and Exercise http://www.naturalhydrationcouncil.org.uk) Get into the habit of sipping water every 20 minutes or so during your workout (rather than gulping it all down at once) and make sure to rehydrate after exercise to replace any fluids lost.
Water As An Appetite Regulator
Water can also be a great appetite regulator. We often confuse hunger with thirst, especially when we’re back at our desks in the office but have only just eaten. There’s even evidence that inadequate hydration can adversely affect hormonal and metabolic responses such as how we burn carbohydrate and fat during resistance exercise, potentially impacting on weight management and performance. For mild to moderate exercise and for any physical activity lasting less than 1 hour, water will rehydrate you adequately (NHC Hydration and Exercise http://www.naturalhydrationcouncil.org.uk).
Bored of Drinking Plain Water?
Flavour your water with fresh fruit and/or berries. Try combinations such as mint and strawberries, lime and cucumber or watermelon and mint. The longer you leave them to infuse, the better the water tastes and, it won’t change the caloric profile of this wonder-drink!
Highland Spring has teamed up with Fitness on Toast founder, Faya Nilsson, with these tips on healthy hydration.
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