Flying and Dehydration

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Plenty of us go on holidays whenever we can afford the time and expenses, and flying is the best way to get around. Most of us would have noticed ourselves getting a little dry mouthed and thirsty while inside the air cabin, and I usually need to ask for an extra orange juice or two to keep me feeling good. The reason for this is that the cabin is low in humidity and so can cause mild signs of dehydration in most passengers. 

Cabin air humidty often range from 10-20% but can get lower. To give you an idea of how dry that is, the Sahara desert is usually around 25%, and the average humidity in a house ranges from 30-50%. Its not a drastic situation, but it is important to be aware of the effects this could have on your body. Symptoms can range from dry mouths, dry skin and eyes to fatigue and elevated stress levels. 

Another fact is that our defenses against diseases are comprised because of the dry air. Our normally moist throats and nasal passages can trap bacteria. Also, the air is recycled and is being shared by a hundred other people for however long the flight is. 

A simple solution to this is to pick up a bottle of water after going through the security screening (security will confiscate bottles of liquid). It might be a good idea to have some moisturiser on you as well for your skin (within the limits allowed through security). Drink plenty during the flight, and when you arrive at your destination. Also remember to walk around every once in a while, just to get the blood circulating. On most flights Ill get up and stretch a bit, my legs get so sore after a while! 

So remember next time you take a plane, drink a little extra water while your on board and keep yourself hydrated!

Some links: Cabin Humidity, Flight Attendant’s Tips

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Hydration Myths

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In a previous blog, I mentioned the confusing amount of information and advice that is out there. This time I want to delve into some of the myths about hydration that is circulating.

One of the first big ones is the 8 glasses a day recommendation. It’s true that you do need to drink everyday in order to stay hydrated, but how much really depends on your individual circumstances. They vary day to day, with the weather, with what your eating and what activities your engaged in. If its a hot day, your doing exercise, you will have to drink more than on a cold day spent inside. If you don’t sweat much, then you don’t need to hydrate as much, but if your sweating a lot, you’ll need to replenish your fluids. It may seem rather obvious, but thirst is a good indicator of when to drink and how much. You also get plenty of water from the foods you eat. Fruit and veggies are good ways to get water into your system, as well as essential vitamins. Win-win.

 

Another myth is that your pee must be clear to be hydrated. Well, yes it does mean you are hydrated, but its actually a bit excessive. Your body is simply getting rid of the water it doesn’t need. What you want to aim for is a clear yellow colour. If it is dark, then you are dehydrated, and you’ll need to drink up. I don’t think its healthy to be obsessed with the colour of your pee in order to stay hydrated, but it could be a simple indicator for you, or reminder if you do need to drink some more.

 

Another one is that pure water is best when your dehydrated. Not always the case. When you sweat, you loose electrolytes and salts and this needs to be replaced in order for your body to be running at its best. Sports drinks are good for this, as well as fruit juices. In saying this though, sports drinks are not good if your not being physically active. It’s designed for those that are exercising; using energy and losing salts.  If your having a chill day and just want to drink something, water will be your best choice. 

 

For an extensive list, go here. 

What myths have you heard? What advice have you got to keep hydrated?

 

Water and Weight Loss

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I’ve been reading a lot on how drinking water can help you loose weight and thought I’d share the most interesting points here. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog how water is part of almost every function in your body, and this is an important point when thinking about loosing weight. Your body burns a number of calories just to stay alive. It’s called your basal metabolism. Its the amount of energy needed by your body to keep everything running. Now when your hydrated, your body is running at its optimum levels, burning calories and keeping everything going smooth, but when you get dehydrated, this drops and so does the amount of calories you burn. Toxins are also left over when you burn calories and without water, these toxins cannot be properly removed from your body. Dehydration also causes a reduction in blood volume which can mean less oxygen is carried to your muscles. Finally it affects your physical performance during exercise. Without being properly hydrated, you can feel tired and sluggish and thus miss out on getting a good workout. Your strength and endurance can drop if you fail to drink enough. Your muscles need water to keep themselves running smoothly and your joints will also benefit from being hydrated and lubricated. So if your looking to loose some weight, drinking plenty of water alongside a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise can help you along your way. Having the determination to loose that weight is the most important thing though!