We all know water is essential for our bodies to function and perform optimally, but we sometimes forget the exact ways in which water works its magic in each and every cell, each and ever day. As a reminder, courtesy of the European Hydration Institute, here are some of the remarkable benefits of good hydration and why you should make a point of stopping at the office water cooler more often.
Adequate hydration is important for proper functioning of the brain. When we are well hydrated, brain cells are better supplied with fresh, oxygen-laden blood, and the brain remains alert. Mild dehydration, a 1% to 2% loss in body weight, can impair the ability to concentrate. Loss of more than 2% body weight due to dehydration can affect the brain’s processing abilities and impair short-term memory.
Hydration in the body is important for transporting carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients and oxygen to the cells. The cells then produce energy for the body to function. Furthermore, hydration facilitates disposal of the waste products of metabolism, enabling the right cellular chemical function.
Hydration plays an important role in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract. Water is required to dissolve nutrients so that they may be absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to the cells. Insufficient hydration will slow the digestive process and chronic poor hydration can lead to constipation.
Fluids are important for healthy heart function and the correct regulation of water balance is essential to keep blood pressure within the healthy range. Dehydration decreases cardiac output which may lead to increases in heart rate and a fall in blood pressure. The circulatory system delivers a constant supply of oxygen to the brain, muscles and to all other tissues.
An adequate water intake is essential to keep the kidneys working well, helping them to remove waste products and excess nutrients mainly via urine. The kidneys regulate the body’s water levels by increasing or decreasing the flow of urine. The kidneys also work to control normal levels of sodium and other electrolytes. A well-hydrated healthy person’s kidneys filter approximately 180 litres of water each day: clearly most of this has to be reabsorbed to prevent excessive losses from the body.
The body water has an important role as a thermoregulator, regulating the overall body temperature by helping dissipate heat. If the body becomes too hot, water is lost through sweat and the evaporation of this sweat from the skin surface removes heat from the body. Sweating is the most effective way that the body prevents itself from overheating.
Muscles and Joints
Water acts as a lubricant for muscles and joints; it helps cushion joints and keeps muscles working properly. Muscles and joints, in addition to the bones, are necessary for us to stand, sit, move and carry out all daily activities. Approximately 70 to 75 percent of the muscle is made up of water. Maintaining the right water balance is essential for optimum muscle function.
Indisputable is that proper hydration is essential to the physiological well-being and subsequent performance of us all. By making regular trips to the water dispenser and by increasing our water intake we improve our general health and well-being, and at the end of the day, that trumps all else – as Mahatma Gandhi said ‘it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver’.
Our bodies use and lose water every day, and our ability to regulate that water balance is crucial to our existence. Water is lost through breathing; through urine and faeces excretion; and through perspiration and sweating – if we don’t replenish the water that is lost and right the balance, we would cease to exist, which is why it’s so important to constantly visit the office water dispenser and monitor how much we drink, both during the work day and topping up after hours. Many factors, including lifestyle and the environment, affect the level of water loss, but on average, the average sedentary adult in a mild environment will lose around 2.6 litres of water per day.
But here’s the interesting part, this amount increases as we grow older and our body’s natural trigger to replenish what we lose – thirst – also deteriorates with age. In a study about the physiological changes for those over 50, the importance of maintaining the correct water balance as we age is discussed:
During ageing, the decline in lean body mass is accompanied by a decrease in the water content of the organism. This decrease in water can be up to 4 L of total body water for men and 6 L for women (from the age 20 to 80) … In addition, the lack of sensation of thirst and the fact that people forget to drink due to reduced cognitive and visual functions at greater age can induce total water imbalance … A poor supply of water is associated with infections, decreased endurance, a risk of heat exhaustion, mental confusion, lassitude, muscular weakness or even death. Notably, a reduced water supply negatively influences the electrolyte balance leading to cardiovascular and hypertension disturbances as well as impaired kidney performance.
The fact that more water is lost and that the body’s natural thirst trigger deteriorates after the age of 50, is particularly pertinent when one considers that the employment of workers over the age of 50 has grown significantly over the past decades – the employment rate for people aged 50 to 64 has grown from 55.4% to 69.6% over the past 30 years.
While ensuring we remain properly hydrated during the day is important for everyone, it is particularly important as we grow older, so if your office needs a better water solution that’s tailored to your specific water requirements, then give AquAid a call on 0800 772 3003 – exceptional service and premium water dispensers at affordable prices.
Nature – International Journal of Science (https://www.nature.com/articles/1601895)
Springer Link (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11556-010-0058-5)
Department for Work and Pensions (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568240/employment-stats-workers-aged-50-and-over-1984-2015.pdf)
In previous blog posts we’ve covered studies that examined the effects of dehydration on performance, but what we’ve not looked at before is water invention studies i.e. giving water as opposed to withholding it. One such research paper is Effects of hydration status on cognitive performance and mood, by researchers, Masento and van Reekum. In their paper they list studies across a variety of different subject groups that examine the benefits brought about by a water intervention – all of which will make you want to get up and go over to the office water cooler for another glass of water!
Taken directly from the Masento et al research paper, here’s an excerpt from each intervention to illustrate how proactively drinking water improves performance:
DRINKING WATER IMPROVES VISUAL SUSTAINED ATTENTION
Young adults were assigned to a no-water, 120ml or 330 ml water condition; and asked to perform a rapid visual information-processing task.
The researchers found a dose related improvement in performance, with those in the 330 ml water condition performing the best of the three groups and the no-water group performing the worst.
DRINKING WATER IMPROVES SHORT-TERM MEMORY
School children aged between 7-9 years were given up to 250 ml of water to drink; and asked to perform a ‘spot the difference’ task.
The visual memory of the children who drank more water was significantly improved in comparison to those children who had drunk less.
DRINKING WATER IMPROVES SIMPLE REACTION TIME
Adults were asked to rate their thirst levels prior to the experiment; were assigned to a no-water or water supplementation condition; and asked to perform a simple reaction time task.
Thirsty individuals performed significantly worse in the no-water condition; with non-thirsty individuals exhibiting a relatively similar performance independent of water intake.
DRINKING WATER IMPROVES MOOD
Young adults were assigned to no-water or water supplementation conditions; and asked to perform a range of cognitive tasks and mood ratings.
Mood ratings were shown to significantly change when individuals were given water. Individuals reported feeling more ‘calm’ and ‘alert’ immediately after water consumption.
Masento and van Reekum conclude their paper with the following comment:
Accumulating evidence supports the notion that hydration state affects cognitive ability and mood. Severe dehydration has been shown to cause cognitive deficits such as short-term memory and visual perceptual abilities as well as mood disturbance, whereas water consumption can improve cognitive performance, particularly visual attention and mood.
In short, if you want to increase your productivity and improve your mood you need to visit your water cooler more often. And if your office is in need of more water dispensers, be sure to give AquAid a call, they’re the UK’s leading water cooler supplier with 23 branches nationwide, all dedicated to providing the same level of superior service.
We’re slowing moving into summer (yay!) which means longer days, warmer weather, ice cream at the park and lolling about in the water. Even if the closest you come to water right now is the office water dispenser, there are summer weekends and holidays to look forward to, and if you have young children, it’s important to be extra vigilant when they’re in the water.
To help create better awareness, May is National Water Safety Month which is an annual campaign designed to bring safe and enjoyable water activities to everyone. If you do have small children, here are a few important Water Safety Tips to keep in mind this summer in and around pools, courtesy of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
- Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible – it’s never too early to start.
- Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision.
- Appoint a designated watcher to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools – don’t assume ‘someone’ is watching.
- Equip doors and windows that exit to a pool area with alarms.
- Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures – make sure anyone supervising children is also familiar with the process.
- Keep rescue equipment and a first aid kit poolside – don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable lifesaving seconds.
- Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard.
- Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a young child in a pool without an adult. And don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers or other equipment to make a child ‘water safe’.
- Don’t think you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water; child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble.
In keeping with our focus on literature this month – after all, you’ll need to have more to talk about at the office water dispenser than just International Book Day on 23 April – we thought it would be a good idea to focus on books yet again, but this time something very different and exceptionally innovative – the drinkable book!
In their ongoing quest to develop new water delivery tools, WATERisLIFE have developed The Drinkable Book ‘the first-ever manual that gives safe water tips and serves as a tool to kill deadly waterborne diseases by providing the reader with an opportunity to create clean, drinkable water from each page.’
In addition to educating the reader about safer practices when drinking water, each page, printed with food ink and made from technically advanced filter paper, can be torn from the book and used to purify water, killing off waterborne diseases including the likes of cholera, E.coli and typhoid. Research shows that it can reduce the bacteria count by 99.9% which puts it on the same level as the drinking water from our taps. A filter (or page) is capable of providing a person with clean water for up to 30 days – and four years’ worth for the entire book.
In a world where 780 million people don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water; and where a child dies from diarrhea every 21 seconds, these and other water-safe technologies can make a profound difference in developing countries – this is also one of the reasons why AquAid chose to establish the Africa Trust. Because the need in impoverished third world countries is so great, AquAid donates a percentage of every water cooler sale to the Africa Trust – together they have built more than 8,000 water pumps in different parts of Zimbabwe and Africa, and helped to bring clean and safe drinking water to more than 1.2 million people.
If your ethos is also to help those most in need and if you want to help bring clean and safe drinking water to the impoverished, consider choosing AquAid as your office or school water dispenser supplier today!
It’s time to get your buzz on, because very soon it’s St Patrick’s Day and all around the world, Irish and non-Irish alike will be celebrating. For those of you that don’t know, the day (actually his death day) commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. The custom to wear shamrocks and go all-green (a colour long associated with Ireland), comes from St Patrick’s use of the three-leaved plant, to signify the Holy Trinity.
What might St Patrick’s Day have to do with a water dispenser you ask? Well, if you’re planning on imbibing and you don’t want to feel like a train wreck the next day, then it’s best to take precautions, and one of the most important is to remain well-hydrated – with water that is, not alcohol. So, frequent stops at the office water cooler in the lead up to the holiday is advisable, as is matching each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water on the day itself.
And if beer or a pint of Guinness isn’t your cup of tea (see what we did there) then why not try out a few fabulously green-inspired cocktails
1½ oz. Tequila
1½ oz. Sour Apple Liqueur
¼ Agave Nectar
2 oz. Lime Juice
Simply combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, give it a good shake and serve in a martini glass garnished with thin slices of apples.
1½ oz. White Rum
1½ oz. Mojito Mix Syrup
½ oz. Lime Juice
5 Mint Leaves
Splash of Sour Mix
Blitz all ingredients in a blender, add ice, blitz again and serve garnished with a slice of lime.
1½ oz. Sake
1½ oz. Vodka
½ oz. Lime Juice
Pea size of Wasabi
Combine all ingredients, stir and serve.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day – remember to stay well-hydrated (the water cooler is your friend!) and enjoy responsibly.