Water has many vital functions in the body and we can only survive 2 or 3 days without it. Dehydration occurs when the body’s water content is too low and symptoms include headaches and confusion. In sport and fitness, dehydration will significantly impair performance. Although most of us don’t experience dehydration symptoms on a daily basis, our daily water intake may not be optimal. This printable water tracker PDF helps you to keep track of how much you drink, so that you can make sure you’re keeping well hydrated.
Daily water intake
Women need 2-2.5 litres of fluid a day and men need about 3 litres. Some of this comes from the food we eat but most of it is from fluid intake. Although we often hear the advice to drink 8 glasses of water every day, there hasn’t been any scientific research into whether we need that quantity of pure water versus other fluid. It’s unclear where the advice originally came from. However, as water is natural and calorie free, it seems logical that it would be the best choice of drink for health and wellbeing. So, while a daily water intake of 8 glasses isn’t essential, it’s a good target to aim for.
Drinks that are good alternatives to water
Although water is natural a calorie free, it’s not always appealing, especially when the weather is cold. Any of the following can contribute to a healthy daily fluid intake:
- Tea and coffee without sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa (preferably made with low fat milk or milk alternative)
- Fruit juice (but not in large quantities as it can cause a sugar spike)
- Vegetable juices
- Herbal teas
- Water flavoured with frozen fruit, citrus slices, mint or cucumber
Drinks which are unhealthy and won’t help you to stay hydrated
- Squashes and any juices with added sugar
- Fizzy drinks (even if they have sweetener instead of sugar, they have lots of unhealthy ingredients, contribute to sugar addiction and aren’t good for hydration purposes)
- Drinking chocolate and malted milk drinks all have added sugar
- Alcoholic drinks are high in calories and cause dehydration
Printable water tracker PDF to record your daily water intake
Use this tracker to help you keep track of your daily water intake – tick off each glass as you drink it. You can download the tracker for free using the links below.
Effect of dehydration on the skin
Another good reason to stay hydrated is for skin health. Being hydrated plumps skin cells, maintains elasticity, and flushes out toxins.
Signs of dehydrated skin
- Dullness and Roughness: Dry skin has a dull, ashen appearance. The texture also suffers, becoming rough and bumpy.
- Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Plump, hydrated skin naturally minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydration, however, causes the skin to shrink, making these imperfections more prominent.
- Loss of Elasticity: Pinch your cheek. Does it snap back quickly, or does it linger in a wrinkled state? Dehydrated skin loses its elasticity, making it appear saggy and less youthful.
- Itchiness and Flaking: A dehydrated complexion is a thirsty complexion. This often manifests as itchiness, especially after showering or cleansing. In severe cases, flaking and scaling may occur.
Beyond the Surface:
Dehydration’s effects go beyond aesthetics. It weakens the skin’s barrier function, making it more susceptible to irritation, infections, and premature aging.
By staying well-hydrated, you can restore your skin’s natural radiance, bounce, and resilience.