Why hydration is so important for physical and mental wellbeing

With temperatures soaring this summer and many of us visiting hotter climates on holiday, it's important to consider the importance of hydration for our physical and mental well-being in a variety of situations. Here's why...

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Why is hydration so important for your health? As our bodies are made from around 50-75% water, it’s obvious that we will need to maintain those moisture levels in order to function properly – both physically and mentally.

And this becomes even more important in different situations. From exercise and illness to working on projects and fun with the family, hydration is so important to keep you capable of physically and mentally coping with these scenarios.

Runners World teaches you how to find out if you’re dehydrated and it’s all about the colour of your urine – read their article to quickly learn what your bathroom breaks can tell you about your fluid levels.

The recommended 6-8 glasses of water per day is supposed to replace the ‘normal’ amount of water lost during regular activity. But what if you’re doing something more physically or mentally taxing? Is that going to be enough? Will you be suitably hydrated to carry out those tasks?

At the very least, you don’t want to become dehydrated but, what if you dislike drinking water? There are more ways to get fluid into your body than you might think – ever heard of eating your water content, or electrolyte waters enhanced with charged minerals or an IV drip treatment that hydrates and adds vitamins?

Sure, there are many ways of staying hydrated but essentially, it can be as simple as drinking the correct amount of fluid for the activity you’re doing. Here are some occasions where you might not have considered that hydration would be important…

Why should I stay hydrated while exercising?

Probably the most obvious occasion but, when you’re exercising – especially in warmer temperatures – it’s likely that you’ll sweat. And that’s a clear sign that you’re losing water from your body. So, it’s vital to replace that lost fluid. You might see athletes enjoying an energy-boosting sports drink post-exercise but water will work just as well.

When you’re dehydrated, this will increase fatigue and you may feel less motivated to continue with your workout. Plus, it makes it hard to control your body temperature, so you’ll feel hotter and more uncomfortable sooner and it may cause you to cut your training session short.

Why should I stay hydrated in warm weather?

Just like we do when exercising, the body helps us to cool down during warm weather by making us sweat. So, throughout the summer months and any time you’re in a hot climate, it’s crucial to replace any fluids lost through perspiration.

There are a few other things you can do in hot weather to prevent fluid from being lost, which include staying in the shade and in cool places. If you feel cool, you’re less likely to be sweating out moisture so do whatever you can to keep your temperature down. This could include:

  • Wearing light and airy clothing
  • Creating a through-draught by opening windows to keep cool air circulating in your home
  • Using a hand fan or electric fan
  • Drinking cool drinks and adding ice
  • Eating cool foods like salad, raw veg and fresh fruit
  • Eating frozen ice lollies

Why should I stay hydrated if I’m working on a project?

Our brains contain some of the highest water content compared to the rest of our body and organs, so it’s crucial that we keep our brains hydrated to ensure our cognitive function continues to work well. Concentration, clarity of thinking and anxiety can be affected by a lack of hydration, so these factors will definitely impact you if you’re tackling a taxing project at work.

Studies have shown that even mild dehydration of 1% can impair memory, mood and brain function. It can bring about ‘brain fog’ and confusion or could increase anxiety levels. Not what you need when you’re trying to work on an important project.

Having a glass of water is said to help with feelings of calmness, reduce nervousness, help manage your emotions, maintain focus and improve reaction times. That sounds like a good excuse to take a break, stretch your legs, step away from the screen or task, and get yourself a drink.

Why should I stay hydrated when I’m ill?

Water helps with all kinds of conditions and illnesses (such as improving digestion, lubricating joints and regulating blood pressure) but, if you’re already feeling unwell, a lack of hydration can cause even more problems.

If you’ve lost fluid through a stomach illness, it’s essential to rehydrate and you can use electrolyte water to do this. Common electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, chloride, calcium and potassium, and even tap water can contain some electrolytes but you can also get enhanced waters, sports drinks and rehydration solutions that will quickly help you to replenish lost fluids.

Plus, dehydration can cause headaches – it’s one of the most common indicators that you may need to rehydrate.

Why should I stay hydrated when I’m having fun with friends and family?

Fun days out often involve quite a bit of activity which, like exercise, will cause you to lose fluids – even just running around after the kids at home can cause you to break out in a bit of a sweat!

Being dehydrated in this scenario can also cause you to have less energy and motivation so you’ll be less likely to enjoy those with your friends and family. You might feel more sluggish and could end up with a headache, especially if you’re in a loud, over-stimulating environment.

If you feel yourself losing energy or can sense the start of a headache twinging, it’s time to grab a drink before reaching for any medication. A big glass of water might be all you need to get your motivation back on track to help you continue enjoying the day with your family.

I hope you’ll find this helpful for staying happy and healthy in a variety of scenarios. I’d love to hear your tips for staying hydrated in different situations and it would be great to learn your hacks for lovely drinks and water-rich foods you can eat on hot days. Please leave a comment with your ideas below. 🙂

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This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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