With the summer finally upon us, it’s crucial that we keep our hydration levels topped up. This sounds like an easy task, but as with most things in life, work gets in the way!
It can often be difficult to stay hydrated at work. Not having easy access to a water source and busy timetables can act as a barrier. But it is vital to do so, not only does hydration help improve our mental and physical performance but also increases our work performance.
Where you work can have a huge affect on your hydration levels. Working in warm climates, manual work, and working in protective clothing increases perspiration and requires a greater intake of water.
Even working in an air-conditioned office can contribute to dehydration. According to the Natural Hydration Council, ‘air conditioning units can speed up moisture evaporation from our skin and lungs which leads to increased water losses.’
What factors can affect our hydration levels at work?
• Restricted access to water: Jobs that involve being away from a water source (tap or shop) will restrict the amount of water we are able to consume.
• Physically strenuous work: Physically demanding jobs require a greater water intake. Unfortunately, some of these roles also involve being away from a safe water source. Having a water bottle to hand is vitally important to ensure safe hydration at all times.
• Air Conditioning: As previously mentioned, air-conditioners can increase the amount of water we lose. This can have negative affects on hydration levels for anyone who works in an air-conditioned environment such as offices, shops airports etc. Even drivers who use air-con in their vehicles could be affected.
• Warm environments: It isn’t just working in warm weather (which we rarely see in the UK) that requires you to drink more water. Working in kitchens, heated buildings or anywhere that makes you sweat at a higher rate will affecrt your hydration levels.
• Altitude: Higher altitude means lower air pressure, which results in more rapid evaporation of moisture from skin and lungs. If you are working at a higher altitude it is vital that you drink more water. At higher altitudes you tend to feel less thirsty so remember to drink plenty of fluids.
Does dehydration affect work performance?
So, is there a direct link between your hydration levels and your work performance? Studies have shown, when dehydration reduces body mass by 2%, it affects our mood, increases fatigue and lowers our alertness (Benton D & Young HA – 2015). It’s not surprising that it affects our performance at work when you consider that our brains are roughly 75% water!
How much water should I be drinking?
Men = 2.5 litres per day
Women = 2 lires per day
(source: European Food Safety Authority)
70%-80% of this should come from drinks and 20-30% will be from food.
Food such as soups, fruit and vegetables have a higher water content and will contribute to your daily intake more than other foods. Find out which are the best foods to keep you hydrated.
Below are some tips on how to stay hydrated when at work or commuting to work:
• Have some water in the morning or on the commute to work (especially on hot days)
• Make sure you bring a water bottle to work. Drinking from a water bottle is a great way to track how much water you are consuming in a day.
• The colour of your urine is a great way to tell if you need to drink more water. According to the Natural Hydration Council, ‘hydrated’ urine should be a ‘pale straw colour. Dark yellow, concentrated urine or low urine output is a sign you need to drink more water’.
• If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of dehydration (e.g. tiredness or headaches), drink some water before trying other methods.
There are lots of drinks that can get you to the recommended daily water intake, water is the by far the most healthiest and natural. It has no calories, no sugar and your body is made up of around 60% of it!
Factors such as taste, convenience or cost can affect people’s decisions on whether or not to drink water. Try using a Water-to-Go water bottle with filter. It will eliminate all of the nasty things in water and keep all the good stuff! Plus, the 3 in 1 filter means you can fill it up where ever you are. Find out more here.