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High-time to get hydrated

By Darren O'Toole | In Health, Nutrition | on July 15, 2017

So as Team DFT plan for another sojourn to pastures warm, the issue of hydration becomes very prominent. Hotter weather, an increased penchant for alcoholic beverages and air conditioned environments which suck the moisture out of the air and your skin all contribute to the risk of dehydration.

So let’s start with step 1 of a holiday – travel.

Travel

If my Facebook and Instagram feeds are anything to go by, the British public loses all understanding of social norms with regards to drinking as soon as passport control has been successfully negotiated. Time is irrelevant – my beer and obligatory selfie is awaiting.

From the outset this is far from ideal. The dehydrating effect of an aeroplane gives a feeling of dry skin, lethargy and bloatedness – which can sometimes last for a couple of days – just what you need after putting all of that work in! Consuming excess water or herbal beverages pre-flight may require the odd toilet break en route, however, it will also leave you feeling great come landing time. It has been recommended to drink approximately one litre of water per hour on a flight to avoid all effects of dehydration. Having tried this in advance of my marathon in Serbia – it is actually reasonably tough to do and you will become acquainted with the onboard loos. Nonetheless, even targeting 500ml per hour will leave you feeling better.

Another tip is that being on a flight numbs your senses – taste buds included. Sometimes a little bit of a relief given food on flights! Therefore, if you require flavor, consider adding fruit or herbal alternatives to your water to increase your desire for uptake.

Sun exposure

The next step on the holiday is the sun exposure.

Ok, so far in the UK this year, we’ve been doing ok. Generally, however, we leave a cloudy 17 degrees and immediately find ourselves attempting to cope with plus 30. Aside from appropriate sun blocks – my personal recommendation being ‘Bioderma Photoderm Bronz’, not cheap but highly effective – the next concern is staying hydrated in the sun. Two important factors to outline here:

Firstly, if you are feeling consistently hungry when in the sun, the likelihood is that you are in need of water first. This distinction is important for your health and potentially for your waistline.

Secondly, signs such as sleepiness, dry mouth, thirst, decreased urination and mild headaches could well be a sign of dehydration.  Too often, we London dwellers (feel free to use interchangeably with caffeine addicts) associate these feelings with a reduction in caffeine levels and then head off for an iced macchiato. Thus heightening the issue further! Instead, seek the same shade but indulge in a spot of sparkling water instead.

Alcohol

Finally, the elephant in the room. The one briefly mentioned at the airport – alcohol. Alcohol decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less anti-diuretic hormone available, your body loses more fluid than normal through increased urination. However, you’ve worked hard for this holiday and enjoy a drink so you’ve earned it. All well and good and I’m not the type of trainer to declare all clients should abstain – why? Because nobody (including the trainer themselves) would! However, some sensible decisions could still be made.

The first being, ensure you are sufficiently hydrated before you start drinking alcohol. Drinking from a dehydrated state may make for a cheap night – but the payback the next day would not be worth it!

Secondly, at the end of an evening – before going to sleep – again re-attempt to hydrate – couple of glasses of water before the evening and a couple of glasses at the end.

Hopefully a few of these tips will be useful for you on your travels and look forward to hearing all about your worldwide travels over the summer. To make some of you envious, a rundown of locations from which you seem to be heading include: Greece, the US, France, Portugal, Spain, the Maldives, Italy, Germany, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sweden, Turkey, and for those where sunshine may be less of an issue – Cornwall, Dorset and Scotland.

Wherever you find yourself this summer, have a wonderful time!

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