Remembering to maintain hydration levels when at work can be quite difficult, as we become preoccupied with the everyday tasks we need to complete. However, staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies and is particularly relevant while the UK basks in glorious sunshine.
Humans have, on average, 2.6 million sweat glands which are activated when the brain decides the body needs to be cooled down. When we sweat, we lose water, and we must ensure that the water we lose, is replaced.
Water helps to regulate our core temperature, remove metabolic wastes, lubricate our joints, and keep our heart and muscles healthy. Through the maintenance of our hydration levels, we will improve our alertness, increase our concentration, and enjoy an improved cognitive performance. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dry skin, muscle cramps, sweet cravings, dry mouth, and headaches.
There are a number of basic steps we can take, to stay hydrated:
- Bring a water bottle. This seems obvious, but by placing the bottle visibly on your desk, you will be encouraged to take frequent sips. The more you sip, the more hydrated you are. Simple.
- Snack on fruit & veg. We get about 20% of our daily liquid from solid foods – so bring some celery, cucumber, carrots or strawberries to work and eat your way to hydration.
- Avoid caffeine and sugar. Both encourage dehydration. Even though a can of pop might sound refreshing, in reality, it will leave you more dehydrated. Processed foods can also have the same effect.
- Liven things up. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, a squeeze of lemon or even cut up cucumber, apple or strawberries added to the water will give it a fruity twist. If you like your drinks hot, then pick up some caffeine free fruit or spice flavoured tea bags.
Some people are at more risk of dehydration than others. Some medical conditions can exacerbate dehydration, such as bladder infections, kidney stones or sickness. Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding can also be at higher risk, along with older people, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on those within your workplace that could be considered more vulnerable.
Remember, we often forget to drink because we are keen to get on with our work, but hydration is actually one key to success, in ensuring we are delivering to the best of our ability.