Drinking enough fluids is vital for your health and wellbeing but also for improved productivity, concentration and motivation at work.
It's important to remember to drink water, so in this article we aim to outline what dehydration is, the drawbacks of consistent water loss as well as 7 tips for ensuring you are getting your daily recommended amount of water.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when you don't drink enough water to supplement the amount of fluid your body has lost, meaning your bodily processes can't function properly. Fluid loss doesn't just occur during intense exercise or increased sun exposure. Rather, dehydration can happen even during the cold, winter months. This is particularly troublesome as you don't feel the need to drink as strongly during the winter.
What are the drawbacks of dehydration?
Long working hours also make it easy to forget to sip on water throughout the day. Even more, most adults rely on high caffeine content drinks, such as tea and coffee, to maintain their focus throughout the day. These drinks are mild diuretics, meaning they cause the kidneys to flush out extra fluid from the body.
Even mild dehydration can cause symptoms in the body such as dry mouth, a feeling of dizziness, fatigue and brain fog. This can affect your ability to focus, meaning your productivity and effectiveness at work will be reduced. Severe dehydration causes serious risks to your overall health, leading to urinary tract infections, kidney stones and even kidney failure.
How can you make sure you are staying hydrated at work?
Making sure to stay hydrated while at work can be a challenge. Coupled with the cold winter months, reaching for a glass of water might not be an intuitive task. The recommended daily amount of fluids is 6 to 8 glasses, including other drinks like fruit juice, milk, herbal teas and coconut water. However, it's important to calculate your daily fluid needs by taking into consideration your gender, body weight, height, physical activity levels and any existing health conditions.
It's important to prevent dehydration and reap the benefits of good hydration. These include the normal function of essential bodily processes - body temperature regulation, joint lubrication, nutrient transportation - but also other health and wellness benefits such as improved sleep quality, better mood, improved focus and productivity.
To help you stave off the negative effects of dehydration, here are some healthy tips to increase your daily water intake.
Set a drinking water SMART goal and use a drinking water app
Setting a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) of drinking a certain amount of water each day means you will be truly motivated to achieve it. Setting a reasonable goal alongside how you’re going to achieve it will help you to create a habit of staying hydrated.
Using hydration apps such as Daily Water Tracker Reminder will contribute towards achieving your daily goal. It will determine how much water you should be drinking every hour and also give you notifications for when you should have a glass. You can also view weekly and monthly analytics to see your overall progress.
Drink plenty of hot beverages during the winter
Drinking cold beverages during the winter may be difficult. However, the body loses a lot of water due to the moisture in our breath and excess perspiration from wearing many layers of clothes. This means that keeping hydrated is still important even when you don't feel thirsty.
When chilled water isn't favourable, try having a cup of hot herbal tea and honey or a glass of hot water with lemon slices. Herbal teas have additional benefits in that they are often high in antioxidants that work to eliminate free radicals from the body - unstable molecules that can damage cells.
Hot water also boasts health benefits, from improved digestion and circulation to soothing a sore throat and runny nose.
BYORB - bring your own reusable water bottle!
Paying for plastic water bottles is expensive and damaging for the environment. Remove this barrier to staying hydrated by purchasing a reusable water bottle.
You can track how often you refill your bottle to determine how much water you are drinking and also support the environment by reducing your usage of single-use plastic.
Ensuring you have good access to filtered drinking water around the workplace
Because prominent barriers to hydration at work are distrust towards workplace tap water and having to pay for bottled water, it’s important for employers to provide access to a free, constant water supply in all workplace areas.
By ensuring their staff remains in good health, employers can expect to see an improvement in overall workplace morale and productivity.
The provision of touch-free or antimicrobial instant drinking water taps will ensure that staff are consistently coming back to refill their water bottles. This will not only support healthy hydration levels but will also improve company sustainability credentials by eradicating single-use plastic bottles in the workplace.
Spice up your drinking water with fruit and vegetable slices
Plain water isn’t a very exciting drink, meaning people are at a higher risk of turning to fizzy drinks containing large amounts of sugar. This has negative effects on health due to their high sugar content and acidity, from eroding dental enamel to causing insulin resistance.
Enhance the taste of drinking water by adding fresh fruit - strawberries, raspberries, lemon - or even cucumber slices. Special drinking water infuser bottles are designed to make this easier. You can also experiment with tasty combinations including lemon and ginger, pineapple and mint or raspberry lemon.
Healthy fizzy drinks
If drinking other fluids - such as fizzy drinks - are a must, try creating your own healthy version. Combine sparkling water with freshly squeezed orange juice for a healthier and less sugar-filled Fanta substitute. The Zip HydroTap makes this even easier when at work thanks to its sparkling water capability.
Eat fruits and vegetables as healthy snacks
Getting enough water doesn't always have to come from drinking enough. Incorporating water rich fruits and vegetables into your diet will quickly boost your hydration levels. Bringing a fruit salad with you to work with high water content fruits such as melon, strawberries, pineapple or peaches will supplement your fluid needs. Similarly, water rich vegetables such as chopped cucumber, carrot and celery sticks with a side of hummus will also ensure you're meeting your hydration goals. Meal prepping these snacks at home is also environmentally friendly as you are reducing the amount of plastic packaging you buy.