We all know that we need to drink lots of water, especially now that the temperature & humidity are rising. But do you know why it is so important? We are going to give you a little insight as to why we are told over & over to keep ourselves hydrated and even how to spot signs of dehydration.
Water is essential for good health and your body depends on it to survive. Our bodies are made up mostly of water and every single cell, tissue, muscle, and organ in our body needs water to function properly! You lose water constantly each day through sweating, urinating, and even breathing. And of course you are going to lose water even faster when the temperature rises and when you work out hard. We need to make sure that we are replacing the water steadily throughout the day.
But just how much water should you drink? The most common recomendation is to drink 8 - 8oz glasses a day. This is a pretty good goal to shoot for but everyone is different. If the weather is hot & humid or if you exercise regularly you are going to need more water than that. Just know that by the time you feel thirsty, your body is already 10% dehydrated; so make it a habit to sip water throughout the day.
There are other things you can consume to help keep your hydration levels safe:
- Sports drinks: These can be great if you are doing a long distance workout or if you have been exercising heavily for more than an hour. Sports drinks can help to provide carbohydrates for energy and can also replace electrolytes lost in sweat. Just be careful because these tend to be high in calories and sugar.
- Food: Foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and soup broths are all made of mostly water. By consuming these they can help to keep you hydrated and full. Also, popsicles are a great way to keep yourself cool and help hydrate in the hot summer days. Have fun and make some homemade onws to help cut down on the sugar.
- Add Flavor: If you get tired of drinking plain old water, buy some flavors or mix-ins to add to it. Calorie free Crystal Light or MIO are both great choices and they help to make water delicious and easy to drink! Also adding fresh fruit like lemons, limes, or berries makes water super tasty & you can have fun by mixing up flavor combonations!
Now it is easy to KNOW that you need to drink more water, but what are some ways that can help to make sure you do so? Here are a couple of tips:
- Plan ahead: If you know you will be going somewhere that you may not be able to have access to water, pack it! Planning ahead helps you to avoid any problems with not being able to have water.
- Drink before you eat: A lot of the time when you feel hungry, you are actually thirsty. That is why when you snack, sometimes you don't feel any better afterwards. If you feel hungry then drink a glass of water. And drink a glass of water before every meal to help you stay a little more full.
- Schedule it: Making a water schedule is a great way to make sure you drink enough. A couple ways you can do this are to drink a glass of water at the top of every hour or you could label a water bottle or gallon jug with times. That way you make sure you are drinking enough each hour to keep yourself hydrated!
- Jug it: If all else fails, buy a gallon of water at the grocery store and carry it all around with you. It is much harder to forget about drinking water when there is a big ol' jug of it right there in front of you. People will also be impressed, take it from us!
Spotting dehydration is very important to know how to do. Make sure you remember these symptoms so that you can help someone or yourself if you ever get dehydrated!
- Little or no urine or very dark urine
- Dry mouth
- Fatigue or unusual sleepiness
- Extreme thirst
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- No tears when crying
If you notice any of these symptoms be sure to have you or whomever is experiencing them to get fluids in them right away. But, don't wait until symptoms appear as dehydration can sometimes be hard to identify, especially in ourselves as we age. Actively prevent this by staying sufficiently hydrated!