Lorn Healthy Options weekly health tip – June 17

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How much water should I drink?

As we move into summer and the prospect of warmer and more humid conditions, we are often asked how much water is required to stay hydrated.

The stat that is often quoted is six to eight glasses, which comes from fairly dated studies completed more than 40 years ago. And it’s worth noting this included the water we ingest through food and drinks including tea, coffee and juice.

Good hydration is critical for human beings who are 50 to 65 per cent water depending on age. But there are a few issues with the six to eight glasses approach.

Everyone’s glasses are different sizes and this message has been perpetuated by large drinks companies down the years which are perhaps less concerned about hydrating the population and more concerned with profits.

If you repeat the message enough, people will believe it and sports drinks which claim to re-hydrate us so effectively are just sugary water with a few electrolytes thrown in.  There is little wrong with tap water and it’s a lot cheaper.

Good hydration is important for cell production, effective digestion, waste removal and temperature regulation and we should not underestimate our body’s ability to self-regulate.

Our brains will sense any potential high or low levels of water in our blood and send signals to our kidneys to correct the situation. Sometimes this results in less and more concentrated urine or a more diluted solution.

Don’t over think the situation, drink at regular intervals throughout the day and obey your thirst mechanism. Little and often is the way forward and if you find your urine has turned from a pale straw colour to a darker yellow, increase your water intake until the situation changes.

Alcohol can throw the body’s natural processes out of kilter so if you are due to celebrate Scotland’s participation at the European Football Championships, please hydrate well the following morning.

For the full message go to the free resource section on our website.

Rob Graham, Lead Exercise Professional, Healthy Options.