Christmas time is synonymous with drinking. The truth is however, that very little of this is consumption of the most important fluid…water. Multiple factors are responsible for making the Christmas period a ‘high risk’ time for people becoming dehydrated.
The classic Australian stereotype of having a beer or wine outdoors throughout the holiday period, albeit perfectly acceptable and normal, has caught many people out who unknowingly find themselves significantly de- hydrated. For this reason, this article aims to explore why there is no more important time to drink adequate amounts of water than throughout this holiday period.
• 75% of your body weight is made up of water, with a majority of it being found inside your cells (intracellular space).
• Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount of water entering the body.
• Water escapes the body via a number of mechanisms, including exhalation when breathing (can be seen when breathing on a cold day), sweating to cool the body, and finally water is passed in urine and with bowel movements. This is precisely why being adequately hydrated is about far more than replacing the fluid that is lost in the toilet
• Signs and symptoms of de-hydration include dry mouth, stopping sweating, unable to produce tears, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, weakness and reduce urine output.
Why H20 should not be the forgotten Christmas fluid?
Alcohol is a diuretic: Have you ever wondered why you spend half your’ big night out’ running to the toilet? Alcohol is a diuretic, which is defined as any substance that increases the rate of urination. This means that alcohol actively promotes dehydration, as it tips the balance towards more water escaping the body than entering the body.
Outdoor festivities: With beautiful warm weather, people naturally gravitate towards outdoor activities. The increased energy expenditure results in added loss of fluid, subsequently leading to enhanced chances of de-hydration.
Summer is hot: With hot temperatures, your body will naturally produce more sweat in an attempt to keep itself cool. This causes more water to be lost than most people realize, and must be opposed by added water consumption.
It is always important to remain hydrated, evidence suggest we should be taking in one litre of water for every 25kg of body weight. This however, is based on a sedentary day, and does not take into account additional fluid that is lost with vigorous exercise, consumption of diuretic or exposure to extremely hot temperatures.
As we embark on this holiday season, be mindful of the need for adequate hydration. Furthermore, understand that this is the period where people are most likely to become dehydrated. Simply being aware of this is not sufficient, acting upon this and being intentional about your hydration throughout this holiday season is the thing that will make the difference… Enjoy your holiday season!!!