The water in this establishment has been passed by the management
In our school, in a 1980’s brownfield development, there was always a concern for the quality of the water supply. It was after a last day of term staff meeting, when our pot of tea left most of the staff in the bathroom for the first weekend of the Easter holiday, that we persuaded the Head to invest in a water cooler. Though it didn’t last, the reasons being cost and a flood which left the carpet sodden and the staffroom chairs water stained on the legs to this day, the difference in taste and quality improved the standard of our breaktime brew and gave the staff the confidence to drink water in school without any fear of further gastric catastrophe.
Many primary schools provide the children with drinking water bottles and promote regular sipping through the day but in today’s blog we would like to consider the benefits of hydration for teachers and the impact on their health.
Water is the driving force of all nature (Leonardo da Vinci)
We measure muscle mass and body fat percentages but body water percentage is an important measure of good health. Though age, gender and body composition all affect body water percentage, we should aim, according to health professionals, for a body water percentage slightly over 50 %. In addition to drinking more water, a great way to ensure that you stay within this healthy range is to eat more fruits and vegetables, which naturally contain large amounts of water.
Our brains require regular hydration too. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you’ll be late for work if you hit snooze for another ten minutes, is impacted when your fluids are low.
Realistically the longest our bodies can go without fluid intake is the six to eight hours we sleep. Though many of us benefit from our morning cup of tea and coffee, we should begin the day with a glass of water. If you’ve ever had a thumping headache it is mainly because your brain isn’t at its 75% water content level, whether that is down to a hot summer day or to overindulgence the night before.
The best drink of the day?
Though we would argue with our patriotic hats on that tea fits this description, the caffeine in tea is a diuretic. Whilst diuretics do have a medical benefit, too much of it can lead to dehydration.
These fluids have diuretic or dehydrating impact on the body:
- tea and coffee (except decaffeinated)
- fizzy drinks, cola drinks in particular
- milk- surprisingly
- some energy and sports drinks
Now we aren’t being killjoys. One glass of wine or a latte won’t dehydrate you. It’s all down to balance and moderation.
One drink certain not to dehydrate us is water.
Pure Water is the world’s first and foremost medicine (Slovakian proverb)
The European Food Safety Authority recommends a daily water intake of 2.5 litres for men and 2 litres for women via food and drink consumption, with 70-80% for fluid intake. this suggests then that we should be drinking 1.5 to 2 litres a day.
Too much water can however lead to water intoxication which lowers sodium levels and effectively drowns cells. In 2007 a mother of three in California died after drinking 7 litres of water in a radio contest to win a games console.
The traditional half time refreshment for footballers was always a cup of tea. One of the first professionals to challenge this was Sam Allardyce who took to sipping iced water at the break and whilst his playing style didn’t always suit fellow professionals, his hydration regime left him with raised levels of energy in an era where players weren’t as fit as today, and enabled him to continue his playing career to the age of 38.
The health benefits of water
- It increases our energy levels.
- It improves our metabolism which can promote weight loss.
- Water helps to build and repair muscle.
- It is great for the skin and keeps you looking young by pluming out the wrinkles.
- Water flushes toxins.
- It helps to reduce joint pain.
- Water maintains a healthy pH level in the body.
- It aids the process of healthy digestion and regularity.
Simple ways to maintain our intake
Healthy Teacher Toolkit is all about promotion of healthy food and drink habits in the profession. Hydrated teachers will be healthy teachers: healthy teachers will be happy teachers: happy teachers teach happy learners. Spreading our water intake through the day maintains levels of hydration and will boost your energy to the final bell.
Here are a few simple tips to maintain your water levels.
- Begin each day with a glass of water. It needn’t be cold. Freshly boiled water with a slice of lemon is just as good.
- Take a water bottle with you through the day and sip regularly. If you are based in one class it can sit on your desk. If your day is more mobile, robust and refillable water bottles are available in a range of sizes.
- There is a trend for water infusers at the current time. There are benefits related to weight loss as well as to hydration. Sometimes the addition of flavour makes it more palatable for some people.
- Try to drink a glass of water with every meal.
- If on a night out, alternating water with other drinks maintains a level of hydration and reduces the risk of hangover.
- There are a number of foods which effectively allow us to eat our water.
- Always rehydrate after exercise. This includes PE lessons!
Simple guidance and a little hard science: keep yourself hydrated, healthy and happy.