Column: Drink more water '“ and keep hydrated
Keeping hydrated is important because you depend on water to survive. Your body is made up of 60 per cent of water and it needs constantly topping up to make up for the amount you lose in everyday life.
You lose water when you go to the toilet, sweat and even when you breathe.
If you look at the photo alongside, you’ll see I’m holding what’s called a urine – or ‘wee’ chart.
Search the internet, you’ll find plenty of examples of such charts. It’s might be useful to download one and print it off to keep in your toilet or bathroom as a handy reference.
It’s a simple way of checking the colour of your urine against the chart to see if you are drinking enough fluids during the day.
On the chart I’m holding, if your urine matches the colour shades 1 to 3 then you’re hydrated. But if your urine matches 4 to 7 then you’re dehydrated and you need to drink more. You lose it even faster when the weather is really hot – not a problem at the moment in Doncaster! – and when you have illness such as a high temperature or diarrhoea and sickness. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can quickly become dehydrated and unwell.
You need to be aware of the signs of dehydration, which include a dry mouth, little or no urine, sleepiness, headache and dizziness. Keep an eye on your children too, make sure they have plenty to drink.
That’s why you should drink plenty of water every day. Most people should drink between six and eight glasses, though different people need different amounts to stay hydrated, depending on, for example, how active they are.
I’m currently in training for a major bike ride later this year and spending a lot of time cycling, so I’m conscious of drinking lots of water to compensate for the fluids I’m losing through exercise.
Water is best for staying hydrated, though other drinks and foods can help as well, such as fruit and vegetable juices, milk and herbal teas.
If you find that your urine is frequently a dark yellow or amber colour, you need to drink more. Here are some tips for you:
* Keep a bottle of water with you during the day.
* If you have trouble remembering to drink water, try developing your own routine for drinking it, such as at meal times and when you go to bed. Or try drinking a small amount at the beginning of every hour.
* If you don’t like the taste of plain water try adding a slice of lemon.
* When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
* Drink water when you go out for a meal – it will keep you hydrated and it’s free.