Ensuring that your body is properly hydrated will make a huge difference to your performance, stamina and energy levels. Regular exercise means you will be losing water through your sweat in addition to the daily losses through urine and the body's normal biological processes, so it is very important that you are drinking enough. 2 litres a day is a good amount to aim for, although individual needs can vary according to the season (you need more water in summer as you sweat more) and how much exercise you are doing. Camelbak have launched a handy little tool for calculating your individual hydration needs:
Try not to drink ice cold water as it can be a shock to the stomach and can affect digestion, especially if you suffer from digestive disorders such as IBS. Room temperature water and even luke warm water is much more gentle on the stomach. When it is very cold outside, sipping on warming herbal teas and hot water with lemon/ fresh ginger etc is ideal as it not only hydrates but warms the body from the inside out.
Also very important is making sure you replace the electrolytes that you lose through your sweat. Electrolytes are important for hydration, nerve impulses, muscle function, and maintaining a good level of pH within the body. Ensuring adequate electrolyte levels will help your exercise stamina, performance and recovery, and also your overall energy levels. Most electrolyte drinks that are on the market today will do the job, but are not very healthy and are often high in sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavourings, colourings etc - basically a chemical cocktail! Not what you want when you want you’re trying to get your body to peak condition. Coconut water is a good alternative, or try my homemade electrolyte drink recipe.