Image: Gwyneth’s all over this (via Instagram).
You know the drill: keeping yourself hydrated is important. The humble H2O is necessary for a long list of bodily processes, including digestion, the dissolving of nutrients, waste elimination and thermoregulation.
While the amount of fluids we should each be drinking is dependent on a number of variables, the Nutrient Reference Values daily recommended intake is 2.6L for men and 2.1L for women — this can be derived from water, food sources, and other beverages.
Hitting this target will not only make you immediately feel more virtuous (no judgement here, don’t worry) but it can also fend off a number of unpleasant physiological symptoms. Here are just some of the things that can happen when you don’t get enough water:
1. You could feel ravenously hungry
This might come as a surprise, but sometimes hunger isn’t hunger at all. Don’t worry, we’re not accusing you of looking for excuses to stick your head in a box of Shapes; when you drop the ball on your fluid intake your body can sometimes get a bit confused.
"Many people may misinterpret a thirst cue as a hunger cue. Always check if you are feeling hungry and if you are due to eat a meal, or if you are actually needing to drink some water," advises Geraldine Georgeou, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Director of Designer Diets.
"[Y]ou’re reaching for energy, but really you’re sluggish and lethargic because your body is searching for more water,” adds health coach Kirsty Welsh.
2. You might feel physically weaker
Hitting the water bottle at the gym helps to restore the fluid you lose through sweating, but that's not the only reason it's important. It could actually impact how well your muscles work, which is a bit awkward if you're in the middle of a strength training session.