We’re often told to drink 8 glasses of water a day because it is ‘good’ for us, yet, few of us actually do. Given that we are 60% water, it’s no surprise that we require regular intake of H20 to function effectively both mentally and physically.
- Water helps to regulate body temperature: if our body temperature raises too much, our body goes into overdrive to cool it down using essential energy which saps performance.
- Water helps regulate blood pressure: properly regulated blood pressure effects the heart which in turn manages our stressed. While some properly managed stress can improve performance, excess levels put additional strain on the body and decrease performance as a result.
- Water helps the transport of essential nutrients and energy: carbohydrates, fats and protein are transported by fluid in the body to fuel muscles and organs such as the brain. In turn it also takes away metabolic waste products from exercise such as lactic acid, a build up of which can reduce performance significantly.
It has been proven that proper hydration improves mental performance and productivity by up to 10%. A dehydrated body is also more prone to mental fatigue, headaches, problems processing information and premature ageing of the brain.
So just how much should you be drinking each day? While the ‘8 glasses of day’ is a good starting point, it really does depend on the person’s size, their metabolism, the environment (such as external temperature and humidity) and of course how much they physically and mentally exert themselves. A good technique is to also have a glass or bottle of water with you and refill it regularly: if its there in front of you, you’re more likely to reach for it, and this quickly becomes a habit. The good news is it doesn't just have to be water that you drink; other drinks like tea and coffee, contribute to the required liquid intake. However, before you get too coffee-happy, certain drinks such as alcohol and coffee can also have dehydrating effects. To keep things exciting try infusing your water with fruits to add a little extra flavour!