As the weather warms up, drinking enough water is important whether you’re exercising, playing sports or just sitting in the sun.
As a guide, to work out how much water you should drink, multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.03. For example, if you weigh 75 kg then you should drink at least 2.25 litres of water. However, you should drink a bit more on hot and humid days or when you’re exercising.
If you’re exercising or playing sports, hydration is crucial. Performance is impaired when you are dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight and losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease your performance by about 30%. Dehydration can affect performance by increasing the heart rate, reducing your body’s ability to regulate heat, reducing your mental function and skill level.
Thirst isn’t always the best indicator that you need to drink. If you get thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Not sweating during vigorous exercise can be a red flag that you’re dehydrated to the point of developing heat exhaustion.
Water is best. If you find water boring, add a slice of lemon or squeeze a bit of lemon or orange juice in it. If you’re exercising for less than two hours, you don’t need vitamin water, sports drinks or energy drinks – most of these are full of processed sugars.