Hydration – Fluid Requirements

Hydration – Fluid Requirements

Approximately 72% of fat free mass in the human body is water. Water is essential for life. It’s Water bottle and glasspossible to survive a few weeks without food intake, during which time the body breaks down its own stores of fat and muscle to use as a source of energy. Without water, you would only last a few days depending on environmental temperature and physical activity level.


 Physiological Functions

Water is necessary for many physiological functions including:

  • It is a solvent, dissolving nutrients so they can pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.
  • Transportation of nutrients and other material (such as red blood cells) through the circulatory system.
  • Removal of waste products
  • Temperature control, via perspiration. Sweat evaporating on the skin is a very effective way of decreasing the temperature

Drinking enough water is also important to maintain general health. It is associated with prevention of constipation, kidney stones, urinary tract infection and chronic renal disease. It can also help to prevent weight gain by helping to control calorie intake.

If you don’t drink enough water you will become dehydrated. The first thing you will notice is increased thirst and a dry sticky mouth. Other effects include tiredness, poor concentration, headaches, light-headedness and reduced urination.

Benefits Of Hydration


 Daily Requirements

For adults, in normal conditions 30-35ml per kg of bodyweight per day is required daily however Human body made up of 72% waterpregnancy and breastfeeding will increase requirements.

But some conditions (such as cardiac or kidney related) will require intake to be restricted. Young children and the elderly may be vulnerable to dehydration and as such, drinking regularly should be encouraged.

Athletes are also vulnerable to dehydration, especially when training in hot conditions. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that during exercise, athletes should aim to prevent greater than 2% bodyweight loss as it has been found that beyond this point, decreases in sports performance become evident. It’s also recommended that in exercise of over 90 minutes in length, fluids should contain carbohydrate and electrolytes in order to maintain fluid balance and performance. However athletes should not drink so much that they gain weight during exercise. This can be hazardous and lead to a condition known as hyponatraemia. The surplus fluid dilutes the sodium in the bloodstream and can lead to swelling of the brain and other tissues.


Simple Ways To Prevent Dehydration

Keep a bottle close, (ideally BPA free) at work, home and when out and about. It will remind you to drink consistently throughout the day and you will be able to monitor how much fluid you are taking in.

Drinks such as tea, coffee and fruit juice also count towards your fluid intake, however limiting your sugar and caffeine intake would not be a bad idea.

Keep an eye on the colour of your urine, if it’s darker than a pale straw colour then it’s likely you are becoming dehydrated and will need to further increase fluid intake.


More Information

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Liam Leech, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, MSc. ANutr.

Liam Leech

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, MSc. ANutr.

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