Let’s talk about water and hydration!
I know, this isn’t the most entertaining or fascinating topic to talk about, but is one of the most important for our health. I am sitting here in the Southwest where heat records have been occurring on a daily basis. To be blunt, “it’s been hotter than hell here!” It is imperative that you get enough water daily; if you wait until you are thirsty, it’s too late!
Our bodies are comprised of about 65% water. Keeping fully hydrated is necessary for a variety of bodily functions, physiological processes and biochemical reactions. These include: blood circulation, waste removal and detoxification, metabolism, and body temperature regulation.
What if you are thirsty? You have already lost approximately 1-2 percent of total water content in your body. That’s not much. But this is enough of a decline in your body’s ability to fully function and perform. So much so that athletes can expect at least a 10% decrease in their performance.
Perhaps you have ignored the initial sensation of thirst, what other symptoms might occur that might give you a wake-up call to drink more water?
- Fatigue and Irritability
- Infrequent urination and urine that is very dark in color
- Bad breath and dry mouth
- Poor concentration
- SUGAR cravings!
How do you know if you’ve had enough water? The answer is two-fold: looks at the color of your urine. It should be almost clear the more hydrated you are. You will also be urinating more frequently. The other objective measurement is how easily you have a bowel movement. A constipated stool is a sign of dehydration.
How much water should I drink? The usual and common recommendation is 6-8 ounces of water/day. Another good rule of thumb is to take your weight, say 150 pounds, and divide in half, suggesting 75 ounces of water a day.
Many people just don’t like water and are using fruit juices, soft drinks, sports drinks as a substitute. Let me be perfectly clear- these drinks are NOT substitutes for water. Your body needs WATER, and water that is clean, clear, and preferably filtered, free of toxins and pollutants. Even bottled water cannot be trusted for its’ filtration.
If I don’t like water, what can I do? I am going to confess that I fall into that category. But, I have found a couple of things that really do help me stay on track and drink more water. Perhaps these things will work for you:
- Drinking water with a lot of ice. I find that water is more palatable if it is cold.
- Using infused water. I purchased a jar with an infuser and have experimented with several types of fruits (peaches, pineapple, watermelon) and vegetables (cucumbers). The hint of flavor from the fruits and vegetables give the water an interesting flavor and one that is acceptable.
The take-a-way from this is to listen to your body and always have water with you, especially in the summer months.
Until next time.