Hydration is an important issue for your health – getting dehydrated can affect your physical and mental performance, your mood and your long-term wellbeing! Today, we’re taking a look at the subject, asking ‘how do you test for hydration? and’ and finding out how you can get hydrated fast when you really need to.
On a normal day, you can trust your body’s natural ability to tell you when to drink water – when you’re beginning to get dehydrated, you’ll feel thirsty. As long as you act on that impulse, you’ll likely remain healthily hydrated throughout the day.
If your job is very distracting, or requires you to focus to such an extent you lose sight of your own needs, then it can be helpful to set a reminder or alarm on your phone. The average person needs between two and a half and three half litres of water a day. You get lots of water from food, and from hot drinks like tea or coffee. Drinking around two litres of pure water a day will make sure you keep hydrated.
There are lots of extreme circumstances that can sharpen that thirst into dehydration. If you’ve been engaged in a strenuous workout; if the weather is hot; if you’ve been doing more physical labour than usual; if you’re unwell. All these conditions can help to escalate your need for water, but also to mask your sense of thirst.
If you’re worried you might be getting seriously dehydrated there are some ways you can test yourself.
Your skin can be a useful way to tell if you’re dehydrated. Long term lack of hydration can turn it red and flaky, it become less plump, and feel cold and clammy to the touch. One quick way to check for hydration is to pinch the skin on your arm – if it springs back to normal quickly, you’re at a healthy fluid level. If it takes longer, you may need a top up!
One of the things your body does with the liquid you drink is make saliva, which lubricates your mouth and also washes away bacteria before it can get established. As you become dehydrated your mouth can start to feel sticky or dry. You could also suffer from bad breath!
Your urine can tell you if you need to drink more – the darker yellow it is the less hydrated you are.
If you need to rehydrate then you need to think about more than water. You’ve also lost vital salts your body keeps dissolved in its water reserves – your electrolytes. Consider keeping some rehydration pills or powders in your medicine cabinet or gym bag to make sure you can quickly and efficiently rehydrate yourself when you really need to.