As humans, we are quite literally dependent upon water consumption for our survival. Our bodies utilise water for many functions - digestion and detoxification, supports the regulation of body temperate, aids in the immune response and supports mood. Based on these facts, you’re most likely already aware that drinking water is important. But did you know that hydration is also linked to better joint function and an integral component of managing arthritis?
Let’s explore this further.
Within our joint capsule - the structure that covers and protects our joints, we have a synovial capsule that produces a substance called synovial fluid. The role of this fluid is to prevent friction and provide cushioning between the bones, ligaments and cartilage that reside within the capsule. Research has shown that water is necessary to ensure that this fluid remains healthy and able carry through with the lubrication and protection that it provides for the joints. Therefore, dehydration may lead to increased friction and potentially, exacerbate joint damage and inflammation.
How much should we be drinking?
Well, this is often up to debate. But a good rule of thumb is about 2 - 3L daily. Of course, it goes without saying that if you live a very active lifestyle and sweat excessively via exercise, it’s important to increase your consumption by around 500mL to 1L daily. Pregnant and breast feeding women, along with individuals living in warm and humid climates, are also recommended to increase their intake.
How do you know if you’re hydrated?
Feeling thirst is actually one of the later stages of dehydration. Our bodies send us subtle signals of dehydration before we feel thirsty. Look out for the below signs that you’re due for some water.
- Poor concentration and agitation
- Mood dysregluation
- Yellow to dark yellow urine
- Slow bowel habits
Easy tips for increasing your water consumption;
- Buy a water bottle and keep it at your desk
You’ll be more likely to remember to drink if you have a visual reminder in front of you. This is where investing in a water bottle may be beneficial. This way, you’ll also be able to monitor your intake. Opt for a 600ml - 1L bottle and set yourself the goal to refill it about three times during the day. Keep it at your desk and bring it with you throughout the day.
- Flavour your water to make it more enticing
Some people really struggle as they find water unappealing and boring. If you fit within this category there are a few flavour tools that you can use to make your water more enticing. Adding lemon slices, mint leaves, fresh berries, cucumber or ginger to your glass, are all wonderful options. You may even like to supplement your intake with herbal tea.
- Download an app to remind you to drink
Another great tool that can be adopted to aid in your water consumption is to download an app that prompts you throughout the day to drink. ‘WaterMinder’ is a fantastic option here.
Everyone should be focusing on their hydration status but if you’re someone struggling with arthritis, focusing on your water intake will be an important component of your treatment plan.