Nutrition

Why Water - Hydration and Health

Mercia Ven Der Walt/ Physical Educator
Aspetar
05 September, 2016

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The human body is predominately made up of water and is vital to life. Water plays an important role on how our bodies function and increases the quality of our life.  Dehydration can impair physical and cognitive performance therefore hydration is critical. Only oxygen is more important for survival, so how can people forget to drink water.

Water is the most essential ingredient of a healthy lifestyle and has important functions in the body such as:

  • Facilitation of digestion
  • Lubricant of joints and tissues.
  • Transportation of nutrients and elimination of waste products
  • Temperature regulation through perspiration
  • Minimizing of back pain due to the hydraulic properties of water.
  • Supports weight loss and a healthy skin

When to consider hydration:

  • While working - It is just as important for office workers as well as those in the labor force due to air conditioned and heated environments due to the dry air which increases water loss.
  • Studying - As insufficient hydration can effect cognitive functions.
  • Driving and flying -  Air in airplanes have low humidity which increase water loss and dehydration when driving can affect alertness
  • Exercise - Hydration during exercise is important.  The longer and more intense the exercise, requires the right kinds of fluids.

Over-hydration

This is really rare, but can happen during exercise when excessive amounts of water are consumed and electrolytes are lost through sweat and not replaced. This can lead to hypernatremia which is when the sodium levels become too low

 Hydration Tips

  • Start early; drink at least two glasses of water in the morning.
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily without exercise or increased heat.
  • Increase water intake in hot humid conditions.
  • Drink before you get thirsty, being thirsty is an indication that you are already dehydrated.
  • Drink 1-2 glasses of water at least 30 min before exercise thus start while you are well hydrated.
  • Drink small amount at regular intervals , approximately every 15 minutes.
  • Don’t substitute caffeine for water , as it causes a loss of water.
  • Keep drinking even after exercise.
  • Skimmed milk makes an excellent post-sport rehydration choice.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables  as they are high in water content.

 

One thing humans, plants and animals have in common is the fact that we all need water for survival.

 

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