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Healthy Hydration

Water is essential for life.

Your body comprises nearly two-thirds water, so it is important to consume enough fluid on a daily basis to stay hydrated and healthy.

Why is it so important to drink water?

Drinking water is essential to prevent dehydration and to maintain normally body functions. Sweating is a process that the body uses to lose body heat; loss of body fluid, mainly as a result of sweating, is inevitable when exposed to hot environments and/ or exercise/ work levels or arduous military training tasks.  However, if the fluid lost as sweat is not replaced, dehydration will become progressively worse.

Dehydration can have a number of effects on the body, such as:

  • Reduced physical capacity to undertake a task, which inevitably will affect your operational capability.
  • Physical status (i.e. health, fitness, acclimatisation).
  • Reduced ability to regulate body core temperature, which will increase your risk of heat illness in hot environments
  • Impaired mental performance, which can lead to poor decision making and irrational behaviour (especially when dehydration occurs whilst working in high levels of heat stress).
  • Illness and, in the extreme cases, death.

How much water do you need?

The amount of fluid you need depends on many things, including your body weight, body size, environmental conditions and how much physical activity you are undertaking.

It is recommended that adults drink at least 2 litres of water (8 glasses) each day.  If you are undertaking military activities that have high physical demands particularly if the weather is warm then you need to be drinking even more fluid.  Fluid includes not only water but also other drinks that provide water.


Can I make my own sports drink?

Yes, you can easily make a sports drink using just a few ingredients. To make an isotonic drink (replaces both fluid and energy during exercise) combine 200 ml of fruit squash, 800 ml of water and a pinch of salt. To make a hypotonic drink (replaces fluid loss) combine 100 ml no added sugar squash with 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt. Do not forget to think about your exercise session… if your fluid loss is small and your session is short (an hour or less) water alone would be perfectly adequate.