Hydration at work by Dr. Priyanka Rohatagi, Chief Clinical Dietician, Apollo Hospital


Staying Hydrated While At Work

Long commute. Meetings. Working Lunch. Presentations. Calls. Pie charts. Quick social media check. Sales figures. Long commute back home.

That’s what an average work day looks like for most urban employees. But while you’re on this fast-moving corporate treadmill, do you remember the most important thing ‘you’ need? It’s hydration. Just as your car would stall if you didn’t refuel, your chassis will certainly show signs of rough use if you don’t refill your own fuel tank. And while food is important for this, hydration is absolutely vital!

Why you need to hydrate, especially in office

Dr Sarah Brewer, nutritionist and doctor, writes in her webzine, yourwellness.com, “You lose about 2.5 litres of fluid every day – through urine, breathing and sweating. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already significantly low on fluids.” Thanks to the air-conditioned urban work environment, your body gets dehydrated quickly, so it’s important to keep drinking throughout the day. There are several good reasons.

The Institute of Health and Productivity Management in the US has found that even a 1% decrease in hydration levels can lower the amount of work you produce by up to 20%. Why? Because good hydration helps improve concentration, reduces tiredness and boosts work efficiency. “The brain is particularly sensitive to changes in water balance, which in turn, can affect mental performance (e.g. concentration, alertness and short-term memory) and overall work-related productivity. It is important to prioritise hydration in order to maintain your mental and physical performance,” advises the Natural Hydration Council, UK, in a paper titled Hydration at Work.

How to hydrate at work

  1. Add it to your routine: A sip after each task is accomplished. A sip before and after every phone call or meeting. A sip each time you’re leaving your desk or coming back to it. Every drop counts and all the little sips will add to the day’s requirement.
  1. Link it to your quota: Just as you have a work calendar that tracks your achievements, keep a hydration requirement chart handy so you can see at a glance if you’re up on your numbers or need some more of this ‘liquidity’!

    3. Make it enjoyable: Keep a good-looking bottle on your table and make sure it’s clean, refilled often and filled with life-giving liquid of the right temperature. Don’t put off hydrating yourself until the last minute. Instead, turn it into a ritual you can savour.
  1. Do it as a team: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a team leader or a team player, getting the rest of your team to stay hydrated is something that they will thank you for and you’ll be motivated to do it more often too. Make it a game (last person out of the boardroom has to go bottoms up on their glass!), a contest (best sales figures today… drink up!) or devise a buddy system and you’ll have fun doing it together (when I drink, you drink; when you sip, I sip).
  2. Make it exciting: Switch your drink to break the monotony. There’s regular water, of course. But you can also hydrate with mint or citrus-flavoured water (add a sprig of mint or a slice of orange to the bottle), fruit juices, cold drinks, coconut water, buttermilk, etc.

    Reviewed by Dr Priyanka Rohatagi, Chief Clinical Dietician, Apollo Hospital

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