Most people know that it’s important to drink enough water every day. But when you’re busy at work, it can be easy to forget to stay hydrated. This can become even trickier when you work outdoors or on the tools.
Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, heat stress, and other problems (even death). When working under the sun, in the heat, or while working in a physically demanding role, you’ll naturally sweat more than you would otherwise.
So, you need to keep on top of staying hydrated otherwise your productivity and performance can drop off.
How To Stay Hydrated At Work
Drinking enough fluids sounds simple, and it is, but there’s more to it than getting your ‘eight glasses of water a day’. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your water intake.
When should you drink fluids?
In short, all day long. Though there are some things to keep in mind throughout the day for best results.
Many people wake in the morning to a quick breakfast and coffee before heading to work, this is especially true for those who have early starts like many in construction or other physical professions.
But, you should take some time to hydrate before work to start your day on the right note.
Drinking a glass or two of water at home before leaving is one easy way to do this, as is ensuring you have a water bottle for your commute.
Otherwise, you run the risk of starting your day dehydrated and playing catch-up the whole day, depending on your access to water or workload, this may be a losing battle.
Hydrate on the Job
Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated throughout the work day. Make sure you’re drinking water all day at work, with your main goal being to never get thirsty in the first place.
How much water do you need anyway?
When working in the heat or sun, it is best to aim for about 250ml of fluids every 15-20 minutes, or just shy of a litre an hour.
This may sound more frequent than necessary, but drinking smaller amounts more regularly is better for your health and productivity than infrequently consuming larger amounts. For instance, it is ill advised to have more than 1.4 litres in a one hour period, no matter how thirsty you may feel. If you do so, the level of salt and other nutrients and minerals in your blood can dip too low, putting you at risk of fatigue or worse.
Hydrate After Work
It can take several hours to catch up and replenish your fluids when you’re dehydrated, and jobs that require intense physical labour will leave your body requiring additional fluids as your rest in order to repair and maintain your muscles.
This is especially important if you regularly consume sugary drinks or alcohol. These drinks may help satisfy your thirst, but they only dehydrate you further and leave you at risk of starting the next day dehydrated. Falling into a cycle like this is known as chronic dehydration, which puts you at greater risk of several medical conditions, including kidney stones, fatigue, and difficulty focussing on the job.
What Fluids Should You Drink?
Not all drinks are made equal, in fact some will leave you worse off than you started.
Water makes up 55-60% of your body, and around 70-80% of important organs like your heart, brain, and lungs.
So, it’s no wonder you don’t feel or do your best when you don’t get enough.
When you work and sweat, your body uses up important nutrients such as electrolytes, vitamins, and amino-acids.
Hydration supplements help you to replenish these nutrients and others that allow your body to take up water more efficiently and to help maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
Some of the most important nutrients in these hydration supplements can be:
- Electrolytes like Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium.
- Vitamins B and C
- Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
- and others
Such supplements can come in powders, concentrates, or ready-to-go as a premix or frozen treat.
What Fluids Should You Avoid?
Some drinks will leave you thirstier than others, or even actively dehydrate you and should be avoided or carefully consumed.
Alcoholic beverages are one such fluid. The strain that alcohol puts on your organs requires a substantial amount of water to repair, plus water is needed to filter the alcohol out of your blood. As a result, consuming alcohol is one of the worst things you can do if trying to stay hydrated.
Not to mention that if you consume alcohol within 24-36 hours of working in the heat, you put yourself at great risk of heat related illnesses.
It’s a common sight, cans of energy drinks throughout a worksite or office. Seen as an innocent ‘pick-me-up’, these drinks often contain far more caffiene than coffee, soft drink, or tea.
When you have too much caffeine in a day (which can be as little as 2 or more energy drinks), you’re putting extra strain on your heart. This strain, when coupled with dehydration, intense activity, or heat, isn’t good for your health or wellbeing.
Plus, most energy drinks have as much if not more sugar than soft drink, introducing plenty of empty calories to your system that further increase your body’s usage of its water.
How To Tell If You’re Dehydrated?
There are several indicators that you could be dehydrated, any one of which is a bad sign. Again, be sure to focus on hydration before you’re dehydrated and work to avoid all of the following.
One of the easiest indicators of how hydrated (or dehydrated) you are is the colour of your urine. If your urine is darker than a very pale or transparent yellow, you’re already dehydrated. Should your urine take on a standard yellow hue, or progress to orange or brownish, it is critical that you focus on rehydrating yourself. This will likely take the remainder of the day, if not 2-3 days to accomplish.
You Feel Thirsty
It can be easy to ignore a dry mouth, especially if you smoke or work around dust and dirt. Though this isn’t wise.
By the time you realise you’re thirsty, you’re already behind on your water uptake.
The following are also signs that you’re dehydrated, and vary in severity.
- You aren’t sweating as much as you’d expect
- Your skin feels hot and dry
- You have a headache
- You feel dizzy
- You become nauseas
- You have little to no appetite
- Breathing becomes difficult
- You’re tired, weak, or fatigued
- You begin vomiting
- Your muscles begin cramping or hurting
- You’re unable to think as clearly as you should
More Ways To Stay Hydrated At Work
In addition to all of the above advice, here are a few more things you can do to keep on top of your hydration.
Keep Extra Fluids With You
Whether it’s a water bottle, a hydration backpack, or something else, you should always have fluids on you to ensure you’re able to regularly take more in throughout the day.
Ensuring that you’re wearing the right clothing and accessories, like long-sleeved breathable shirts, wide brimmed hats, and other head coverings or cooling scarves, will set you up for success and reduce the impact of heat and sun on your thirst.
Take Breaks When You Can
Giving your body an opportunity to rest will lessen the effect of heat and effort on your body. This also gives you ample opportunity to refill your water bottle or back-pack.
Shop Our Hydration Range
Here at DD Group we take pride in providing our partners and clients with everything they need to keep their teams safe.
This includes products that help you stay hydrated while you’re working.
If you’re looking for hydration supplements, water storage, or clothing designed to protect you from heat stress, you’ll want to check out our THORZT and our Hydration Range here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss how DD Group can better enable you and your team to stay safe and keep hydrated at work, you can call one of our Industry Specialists today at: 1300 003 384.