Water, water, everywhere.

You’ve probably heard this before…. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79% water. Even your ‘solid’ bones are 31% water.

I’m watching the Rugby and the England manager Eddie Jones is sipping on his water and I say to Christine ‘what’s he drinking for he’s not done anything to break sweat’. Then I got to thinking – I suppose being England manager in such circumstances is quite stressful. I wonder what the relationship between hydration and stress is?

Turns out there is a two way relationship. Being dehydrated can cause an

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increase in cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone present when we’re feeling the pressure and too much of it coursing through our bodies is not a good thing. It makes sense really as being dehydrated is putting your body under physical stress and stress is multi-faceted – physical, emotional, mental.

You are also more likely to become dehydrated when stressed because of elevated heart rate and heavier breathing. So it’s a vicious cycle. Dehydration leads to stress and stress leads to dehydration.

So how much water should you drink? The NHS recommend drinking 1.2 litres per day while other advice suggests nearly 2 litres. The difference, it is suggested, is due to our climate not being as warm as others. However you’ll need to increase the 1.2 litres if you live and work in a warm environment and are taking exercise. You also need to take into account your size and weight.

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My suggestion is drink little and often until you find your level. After all we are all different. The colour of your urine can be a good indicator. It should be light yellow, almost clear. It’s useful to start the day with a glass of water and end the day with one. Always drink during and after exercise. And remember even just sat at your desk can be dehydrating you, given its relationship with stress.

Stay well!

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