When was the last time you drank a full glass of water?
If your answer is, “More than five hours ago,” or worse, “I don’t know,” then you are probably not drinking enough water. We are well into summer and temperatures are still rising; now, more than ever, it is important to stay well hydrated, even if you are lucky enough to spend most of your daytime hours in an air-conditioned building.
Why do we need water?
The human body is sixty percent water and relies on a regular intake of fluids to stay healthy. Without a substantial supply of water, our bodies can’t perform all the necessary functions for life, such as digestion, maintaining healthy blood pressure, regulating body temperature, and much more. Our brains also depend on water to provide electrical energy. Without it, our hormones and neurotransmitters are thrown out of balance, affecting memory function, creativity, focus, and emotional stability.
These psychological symptoms, as well as headaches and fatigue, are warning signs of dehydration. If you find yourself sitting at your desk, feeling irritable and unable to focus, consider the possibility that you may need to make a trip to the water cooler because you are not drinking enough water.
Other than being required to fuel our bodies and brains, water has several health benefits: increasing water consumption can help you lose weight by filling your stomach and reducing your caloric intake. This also keeps your skin looking young and fresh and reduces your risk of kidney stones.
How much water is enough?
The old “eight glasses a day” mantra is a good start; however, newer research shows that every person’s bodily needs are different, even when it comes to water intake. There are a variety of complicated ways to calculate your approximate hydration needs. By far the simplest one is to divide your weight by two: this number is how many ounces of water you should be drinking every day.
Certain factors affect this number. For example, if you exercise you will need extra water to compensate for fluid loss. This could be anywhere between an additional twelve to forty ounces depending on your workout routine.
You also lose water in high temperatures. This is particularly relevant now, during the sweltering summer months. Odds are, you probably don’t need to be reminded to drink a glass of ice water after coming inside out of the heat, but don’t let that be the only water you drink for the rest of the day.
Various health conditionals also influence how much water you need. Illnesses such as the flu require an increased intake of water, while kidney and liver diseases call for a decrease in water consumption.
How to meet your daily water objective
Drinking enough water doesn’t have to mean forcing yourself to chug a glass every few hours. There are new, delicious ways to hydrate.
Crunchy, disposable water bottles are out! They’re loud and bad for the planet; instead, keep an insulated stainless steel bottle with you to refill and drink at your leisure. This will help you do your part for the Earth, as well as give you the chance to add some character to your bottle. Plus, these bottles keep your water cold and fresh all day, even in the relentless summer heat!
Another exciting way to spice up your hydration habit is drinking infused water. You can add a number of delicious flavors to your water: cucumber, lemon, cherry, mint… the possibilities are endless! Just slice up your favorite vegetables, fruits, and herbs and drop them into some cold, fresh water. Or, try an infuser bottle for an easy and delicious drinking experience. For the flavor without the preparation, this amazing cup tricks your senses so that you can drink delicious “flavored” water without any added sugars, carbs, or calories.
You can also skip a serving of water entirely if you replace it with plenty of hydrating foods. Watermelon, grapes, cucumbers, spinach, and carrots all contain large amounts of water. So if you just can’t stomach your seventh glass of water today, make yourself a fruit or veggie salad. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, it will also give you an added boost of vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
Are you drinking enough water?
Track your progress by capturing your water consumption in your health risk assessment. Incorporate water into your daily diet by making it a habit. Drink a glass every morning when you wake up and with every meal. Create a game: every time you think about drinking water or look at your water bottle, have a sip. And anytime you are thirsty, don’t ignore it. While you’re working hard at your desk, your body is working hard to keep you going. Ignoring your need for water means that your brain and body are not working at their full potential. Supply yourself with enough water and you’ll stay at the top of your game!