Studies on hydration status normally focus on water balance over a 24 hour period. For water balance to be maintained, water intake must equal water losses. So how much water or other fluids will be required for this?
It is difficult to make universal recommendations. People vary widely in their water needs depending on many different factors. These include age, gender, body size and composition, health, level of physical activity, and the temperature and humidity their environment. Even working in a dry air conditioned office can lead to increased water losses that we are not aware of.
"Conflicting points of view on how much fluid (including water) you should drink per day to stay well hydrated"
There are two conflicting points of view on how much fluid (including water) you should drink per day to stay well hydrated and government health agencies and other health authorities have changed their advice over the years.
One view is “to let thirst be your guide”. This is based on defining mild dehydration as starting at 3% loss of body weight.  It may work for who those sweat a lot, like athletes or those doing physical activity in hot climates. But it doesn’t seem to work so well for the average person going about their everyday activities, where water loss is smaller and more gradual.
Part of the problem is that humans do not sense thirst until they have lost 1% to 2% of their body mass as water.  By that stage, you are already mildly dehydrated. Water has been transferred from within and between the cells of your body and into your blood-stream. In addition, some people get used to ignoring thirst signals. In others, such as the elderly, the thirst mechanism is less effective.
However the brain is 80% water. Recent research has shown that a loss of just 1.6% of body mass impaired cognitive performance and mood in healthy young men.  It seems reasonable to assume that a similar minor water loss can trigger a headache attack.
The alternative view on maintaining hydration status is to offer specific guidelines for an “average” non-exercising person in a temperate climate.
It is commonly assumed that about 20% of our water intake comes from food.  That leaves about 1700 ml to be made up by water and other beverages. It fits reasonably well with what in the US is referred to as the 8 x 8 rule – in other words drink a total of eight 8 oz glasses per day, which comes to a bit less than 2 litres.
"About 20% of our water intake comes from food. That leaves about 1.7 litres to be made up by water and other beverages"
However what is generally not emphasised by the need to spread fluid intake out evenly throughout the day. It takes time for water to be absorbed from the gut, enter the blood-stream and rehydrate the cells.
Drink too much too quickly and a lot of it will pass straight through. It can also be dangerous under some circumstances, especially when a lot of salts have been lost in sweat and these are not replaced at the same time.
What about drinks containing caffeine, like coffee, tea and some soft drinks, which have a mild diuretic effect?
Water balance studies show that these don’t cause dehydration over a 24 hour period, at least for those used to caffeine. However it is possible that increased urination could lead to temporary water losses from within brain cells and trigger a headache attack. If these losses are later made good they won’t be detected.
In any case headache sufferers need to be cautious about their caffeine intake to avoid headaches triggered by caffeine withdrawal.
Water is certainly a much better choice than sugary commercial fruit juices or soft drinks which can cause your blood glucose levels to spike. These drinks, and even diet soft drinks,  have also been linked to progressively putting on body fat over time.
"We suggest you aim to drink roughly 1.5 litres of water evenly spread out over the whole day, and 20% derived from your diet, it will provide a total fluid intake of about 2 litres"
In the absence of any better evidence, we suggest you aim to drink roughly 1.5 litres of water evenly spread out over the whole day, giving a total fluid intake of about 2 litres.
Even if you don’t like water, this is an achievable target, provided you gradually replace some of your other beverages by water.
You could also try filtering tap water (this is a lot cheaper than bottled water) and adding a slice of lemon.
 H Valtin (2002). “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 x 8”?” Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 283(5): R993 –R1004.
 LE Armstrong (2012). “Hydration Biomarkers During Daily Life: Recent Advances and Future Potential.” Nutrition Today, 47(4): Supplement 1: S3 - S6.
 MS Ganio, LE Armstrong, DJ Casa, BP McDermott, EC Lee, LM Yamamoto, S Marzano, RM Lopez, L Jimenez, L Le Bellego, E Chevillotte and HR Lieberman (2011). “Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men”. Br J Nutr, 106(10): 1535-1543.
 E Perrier, S Vergne, A Klein, M Poupin, P Rondeau, L Le Bellego, LE Armstrong, F Lang, J Stookey and I Tack (2013). “Hydration biomarkers in free-living adults with different levels of habitual fluid consumption”. Br J Nutr; 109(9): 1678–1687.
 VS Malik, A Pan, WC Willett and FB Hu (2013). “Sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain in children and adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. Am J Clin Nutr; 98(4): 1084-1092.
 ML Power and J Schulkin (2013). The Evolution of Obesity, p117-118, JHU Press.
If you are like most people you probably haven’t given much thought to the way you breathe until now.
However, factors such as stress, slumping in the chair, abdominal surgery, or even always keeping the stomach tensed and hence fashionably flat, mean we tend to adopt incorrect breathing patterns without realising it. Perhaps it may come as a relief to know those much sought after “washboard abs” are not so healthy after all.
Common examples of incorrect breathing include:
● Chest breathing (breathing high into your chest)
● Shallow breathing
● Irregular breathing
● Failing to breathe out fully
● Forgetting to breathe out at all for a while and holding your breath
● Breathing too rapidly or too deeply (hyperventilation)
● Breathing through your mouth rather than your nose
Some people who breathe incorrectly complain they tend to run out of breath while talking, others may notice feeling anxious, but many may not be aware of any effects at all.
"We often worry about what to eat and what not to eat but we can last months without food, but only days without water and only minutes without oxygen"
However correct breathing is essential for optimal physical and emotional well-being. Consider that we often worry about what to eat and what not to eat but we can last months without food, but only days without water and only minutes without oxygen.
Incorrect breathing patterns can have some surprising effects.
In Chapter 7 we mentioned that habitual chest breathing could cause trigger points to develop in the neck and shoulder muscles, and that replacing chest breathing by diaphragmatic breathing plays an important part in preventing these trigger points from recurring in the future.
But what is diaphragmatic breathing?
Diaphragmatic breathing, which is also called abdominal or belly breathing, is considered to be the normal healthy way to breathe. It means drawing air deeply into the lungs while keeping the belly relaxed and using the diaphragm to do most of the work. This causes the abdomen to expand rather than the chest.
Slow diaphragmatic breathing is how a sleeping baby breathes, its abdomen rising and falling with each breath.
It is the most efficient way to breathe, requiring the least physical effort and almost completely filling the lungs with air.
"It also has a calming effect, helping reduce emotional stress and excess muscle tension"
It also has a calming effect, helping reduce emotional stress and excess muscle tension and so is normally used as a prelude to relaxation exercises.
Slow diaphragmatic breathing can make a significant contribution to reducing the frequency and severity of your headache attacks.
It does this by:
● Removing one cause of trigger points in the muscles of the neck and shoulder muscles which are a direct source of headache pain.
● Increasing oxygen supply to the brain.
● Reducing emotional stress and excess muscle tension.
* This is an excerpt from the book Stop Headaches Naturally (Chapter 8, Correct Breathing - Diaphragmatic Breathing & Headache Prevention)
Have you ever tried fixing a leaky roof when it’s raining? The only thing you can do is place a bucket under the leak and temporarily repair the leak.
Once the rain stops, it’s easy to remove the water from the bucket and hope it doesn’t rain again. But if this cycle continues, the leak that was once only a single drop in a bucket, can worsen to the point were the roof can buckle and cave in.
Many of us can apply this behaviour to our health. It’s important that once we experience a ‘leak’ in our health - whether its back pain, tension headache or migraine - make the time to fix it.
"Once we experience a ‘leak’ in our health - whether its back pain, tension headache or migraine - make the time to fix it"
So don’t wait until it rains again. If the sun is shining and there are blue skies, make sure you make the time to take preventative measures to ensure that your roof contains no cracks or faulty plumbing.
Stay posted! I will be providing some Preventative Medicine strategies in upcoming posts…
There are many people who don't exercise because they believe they need to run or cycle hundreds of kilometres, bench press the weight of a car or have a personal trainer that pushes them to new levels to achieve their fitness goals... but that is not true!
Let me make myself clear, I support the personal training industry but not everyone responds to that sort of training.
I have always questioned excessive exercise due to the negative effects it has on the body. Yes, if you want to be on the front cover of Men's Health Magazine with 10% body fat or compete in next years Tour De France, your body will have to undergo serious training to achieve such feats.
On the other hand if your goal is to control your weight, increase your health and decrease the chances of illness or disease, then do you really need to train 4-6 days of week? All you need is a simple fitness program that develops your strength, flexibility and endurance.
High Intensity Training (HIT) has been used for many years. It is a great way to achieve your fitness goals without excessive exercise, reduce the incidence of overuse injuries and allow you to live a balanced life without the stress of meeting unrealistic fitness goals.
Here is an excerpt from Dr. Michael Mosley's (author of 2:5 Diet) Daily Mail article that explains the importance of exercise and the benefits of High Intensity Training...
"Everyone agrees that getting more active will add years to your life (around 2.2 years, to be exact). But, more importantly, it will significantly reduce your risk of developing a range of chronic diseases, from cancer to heart failure, dementia to diabetes.
Exercise will also help you sleep better, improve your mood and even perk up your sex life, according to the well-regarded Mayo clinic in the U.S. (even help reduce tension headaches).
But how much should you do? In 2008, a committee of U.S. scientists recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, while cautioning the necessary amounts 'cannot yet be identified with a high degree of precision'. 'In trials, most people say they prefer HIT to conventional exercise, not least because it is over so quickly'
This 150 minutes a week remains the recommended level despite the fact that less than 20 per cent of us do anything like that. The most common excuse is a lack of time. That has certainly been mine - which is why the idea of HIT appeals to me."
Keep reading this interesting article by Dr. Michael Mosley and you will also find out about:
- Roger Bannister Was A 'Fast' Exerciser
- You'll Want To Eat Fewer Calories
- Even Two 20-Seconds Bursts Help
- Your Muscles Will Be More Powerful
- Could It Be Dangerous
Photo: Bahrain Personal Training
Pablo Tymoszuk is a soft tissue therapist specialising in remedial, myofascial and dry needling techniques. He also acts as an ergonomic specialist and wellness consultant which has motivated him to co-author the eBook Stop Headaches Naturally.
Together with Dr Margaret Scarlett they present a range of strategies for stopping headaches and migraines without drugs. All strategies are organized in a syst