One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to drink more water. Sometimes I do really well with my water intake, but occasionally a day will go by that I’m rushing from appointment to appointment barely taking a sip. I know that I’m not the only one with this issue, so today I wanted to share some tips on hydration.
The Importance of Water
Everybody knows we need water to “stay hydrated,” but what does this mean for our bodies? Water is needed in every cell, organ, and tissue in the body, and is vital for numerous bodily functions.
- Acts as a lubricant for the joints and acts as a cushion for the tissues and organs in the body.
- Allows for the removal of waste products. What do sweat, urine and stool all have in common- they’re all made primarily of water! Drinking water can also help relieve constipation by softening your stools and moving them through the digestive tract.
- Water helps with digestion of nutrients. It is the basis of saliva, which also contains enzymes that start to break down nutrients. Therefore, water is involved with the very first step in digestion!
- Body temperature is regulated by water. When it gets hot, we sweat! When the water evaporates from our skin, the body cools down quickly.
- Water, along with electrolytes, maintains fluid balance in the cells. Our bodies keep a delicate balance between water inside the cells and outside of the cells. When we have too much or too little water or sodium, the balance gets upset and our bodies adjust to maintain this balance.
How Much to Drink
There is no concrete rule on home much water a person should drink per day. As a general rule, start with drinking 8 cups (64 oz.) of water per day. Caffeine intake, physical activity, genetics, size, and so on can all influence the amount of water we need per day. A great way to tell if you are dehydrated is by checking your urine color. Light yellow or clear urine means you are adequately hydrated, while darker urine is a sign of dehydration. Water intake should be spread throughout the day and not saved to later in the evening to try and catch up from the entire day. Stay ahead on your water intake and don’t wait until you are having signs of dehydration (thirst, headache, dry mouth).
Tips to Stay Hydrated
- Add fruit to your water to give it more flavor without adding extra calories and sugar.
- Drink water on a schedule (ex: when you wake up, with every meal, and before going to bed).
- Set a timer on your phone to remind you to drink. There are apps that help you do this too!
- Mark your water bottle at different time intervals to help you keep track of your water intake and keep you accountable. You can buy a marked water bottle here.
- Seltzer and sparkling water counts too! Just make sure there isn’t any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. I really love Polar Seltzer, LaCroix, and Waterloo Sparkling Water.
- Get your water from foods! Most fruits and veggies are made up of primarily water, so make sure you’re getting your recommended amount of produce per day!
- Coffee and alcohol are both diuretics, which remove water from the body. To avoid becoming dehydrated, have a glass of water between each drink you consume.
- Always keep a water bottle with you.
- Drink water before, during, and after your workouts. Don’t wait until the very end to start drinking. Instead, plan on taking a sip between each set or interval.
- Switch to hot water in the morning or at night and make some herbal tea.
Drink up! Also, a big thanks to my intern, Kristyn, for helping me put this post together!