Karl Henry: 'Getting fit isn't just about eating better and doing more exercise - it's just as important to stay hydrated'
Congratulations - you made it past 'Ditch Your Resolutions Day'! High fives all around. You can already see the rapidly decreasing number of people running and walking on the roads. Gyms and slimming clubs of Ireland are already quieter, but not you. This year you are taking the slow and steady approach, putting the work into building the foundations of real change. Change that will stay for the long run, and for that I applaud you.
This week, it's time to look at an aspect that is often overlooked but that most of us must change on our fitness journey. Obviously food and exercise are crucial, but they're not the be-all and end-all. There is something equally important to begin with, and that something is hydration.
Your body should be between 50-55pc water - that's literally half of your body weight. Water is something that we can't do without, and, among other things, it can help:
* Improve your energy
* Boost your motivation
* Enhance your sleep
* Improve your skin
* Reduce hunger
* Allow you to train better
* Eliminate the body of toxins
* Slow down the ageing process
* Improve digestion
If those benefits don't motivate you to change, I'm not sure what will. The best part is that it's so simple: all you have to do is drink more. That's it.
How much water do I need?
Ideally you are looking at 2-3 litres a day. The simplest way to do this is to fill a large 2-litre bottle of water each the morning and aim to have it finished before you go to bed every night. You will know if you are dehydrated by the colour of your urine, ideally it should be clear, not yellow.
Some other points to note about hydration:
* Tea and coffee don't count towards your daily intake. You can replace your regular teas and coffees with some hot water and lemon.
* Cordials are generally loaded with sugar and artificial flavourings, so don't add them to your water.
* Avoid shop-bought flavoured waters for the same reason.
* If you want to add flavour to your water, do it yourself and try fresh mint or slices of lemon, lime or cucumber.
* Start each day by drinking a glass of cold water first thing in the morning when you get out of bed.
* Cut out tea and coffee consumption after 7pm to improve your sleep, and stop drinking water after dinner to avoid waking up racing to the toilet during the night. Ideally you should be drinking water regularly during the day and with dinner, ensuring you go to the loo before you go to bed.
Week 3 to-do list
* Keep measuring your fitness indicator
* Keep doing your weekly food shop
* Get your large water bottle
* Cook at least three meals
* Give someone a compliment every day
Week 3 exercise: The tricep dip
One of my favourite exercises as it's so easy to do and so good for your upper body. This is an exercise that everyone should be doing.
1. Start by sitting on a bench, stairs or stable chair.
2. Place your feet out in front, keep your hands by your side, and simply bend the elbows to lower your bum towards the floor. Ensure you keep your bum/back close to the chair.
3. If it's too easy, move the legs further away, and if it's too hard, bring the legs closer to you.
4. Aim for 20 reps and three sets, so you should be just slightly struggling towards the end of the exercise.