Three tips to stay hydrated with diabetes

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Water is important for everyone, but when you are living with diabetes you are more susceptible to dehydration. Even a little dehydration during the day can impact your blood glucose levels.

If you don’t drink enough water, the glucose in your bloodstream becomes more concentrated and that leads to higher blood glucose levels. Your kidneys then have to work overtime to deal with the excess glucose, eventually expelling it from your body in your urine. The more you urinate the more likely you are to become dehydrated.

Our bodies are made up of around 60-65% water, the major component that makes up blood volume is plasma, which is approximately 90% water, and our muscles, around 70%. When you consider these percentages it is quite easy to see the importance of staying hydrated.

Exercise

A major risk for dehydration is exercise – a 4% fluid loss can cause significant impairment to cognitive function. When you exercise your body loses heat through a variety of different ways, one of which includes evaporation (which requires water) in order to give off heat energy via sweat. Sweating is an important process for ensuring temperature regulation during intense bouts of physical activity.

Guidelines

General guidelines suggest drinking around 3-3.5 litres per day for males and 2-2.5 litres per day for females. This includes water, food and other beverages. You’ve probably heard the advice that we should be drinking an 8 glasses of water per day, however when you are exercising you might need to consider increasing your total fluid intake to account for the water lost through sweat.

It’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout to replenish the fluids lost during exercise, particularly if you’re exercising in hot conditions which can cause further physiological stress.

Three tips to stay hydrated

Below are three simples tips you can try to ensure you are drinking enough fluids while exercising.

  • Carry a bottle with you
    Find yourself a bottle (preferably BPA free) and carry it with you wherever you go. This is great way to stay hydrated when exercising, during outdoor activities, or in the warmer months.
  • Keep a water journal
    Keeping a record of how much you drink is a great way to understand if you are staying well hydrated. There are plenty of mobile apps that can be helpful in tracking your water intake.
  • Alternate beverages
    Alternate between caffeinated and decaffeinated tea, coffee or sodas throughout the day. Caffeine is a diuretic and increases the excretion of water from the body as opposed to hydrating the body. This may be an important consideration if you are big coffee drinker.

By Hayden Kelly, Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Keywords: diabetesExercise

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