We all know how important it is to drink enough water; you’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again, you’ve got to stay hydrated. Especially when you’re working out. However, even though we know how important it is to stay hydrated, many of us don’t drink nearly enough water throughout the day.
For example, an estimated 75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated, failing to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water per day. In fact, in about 40% percent of North Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak, that it’s often mistaken for hunger. And considering that our bodies are mostly composed of water (over 70% is water) it makes a lot of sense to make sure you’re getting enough of it!
So do you?
We’ll be the first admit that we don’t always get the recommended 8 glasses a day, you know how it is, life happens. Still, it’s so important, that it’s worth the little extra effort to make sure you’re getting adequate hydration.
How important? Very. Let’s take a look…
Why Staying Hydrated is Important
- Dehydration could be linked to an increased risk of cancer.
- Dehydration is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue.
- Dehydration can lead to increased risk of urinary tract infection.
- Even mild dehydration significantly reduces athletic performance.
- Even mild dehydration slows down your metabolism.
- Keeps your muscles and joints lubricated.
- Keeps your skin supple.
- Is critical for efficient detoxification.
- Improves your muscle tone.
- Reduces fluid retention = less bloating.
Those are just a handful of the benefits to staying hydrated, put simply, water is the most critical nutrient we can get, without it things just don’t work as well as they should.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
The first thing to remember is that there is such a thing as too much water. Yes, people – a lot of them – have actually died from drinking too much water. As Paracelsus famously noted, the dose makes the poison5. Don’t overdo it.
Now you’ve probably heard that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but is this how much you actually need? The Institute of Medicine has determined that men need about 3.7 liters (about 15 cups) and women need 2.7 liters (about 11 cups) of fluid per day.
The ‘8 by 8′ guideline works out to about 1.9 liters, so it’s reasonably close to the Institute of Medicine guidelines (since you’ll probably have other drinks during the day too). Remember, all fluids you drink count towards your water intake.
So if you want to get the most from your workouts, be healthier and get leaner, make staying adequately hydrated a priority.
And we’ve got a few tips to keep you juicy.
12 Easy Tips for Staying Hydrated
The key to keeping hydrated – and, in fact, sticking to any habit – is to make it as easy as possible to stick to. You want to make it so easy, that it’d be harder for you to fail, than to stick to the habit. These tips aim to help you do that, easily.
Get started early and finish off late.
One quick and easy way of increasing your water intake is to drink a big glass of water first thing when you wake up and just before you go to sleep. Done!
Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
Most of us would drink more water if we just remembered to, or if it was at hand. Get yourself a funky water bottle (make sure it’s BPA-free) and keep it on you at all times. We love Bobble and Nalgene.
There’s an app for that!
Eat foods with high water content.
20% of our daily intake of water comes from food. By eating water-rich foods, you’ll increase your overall water intake quite easily. Try watermelon, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, melons, oranges – these all contain a lot of water.
Drink lots of fluids.
Duh, right? But notice that we’re talking about fluids, because all the fluids you drink during the day count towards staying hydrated, not just water. Having said that, we like to keep it as close to natural as possible, since it won’t pile on calories (fruit juice we’re looking at you), doesn’t contain a ton of sugar or other questionable ingredients (soda). So try to keep it as pure as possible, but remember that it all counts.
Drink before you’re thirsty.
By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated (and feeling the effects of that), so instead of waiting until that point, sip water throughout the day.
Avoid dehydrating food and drinks.
Relax, that cup of coffee doesn’t have enough water to dehydrate you. Phew, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Caffeine is a diuretic, but the high water content of your coffee actually leaves you more hydrated.
Of course, if you’re over consuming coffee, or drinking incredibly strong brews, you may have a problem. Still, there are a few things which you want to moderate: alcohol (surprise!), foods high in sugar, some herbs (like parsley and watercress).
And if you eat a lot of protein (for muscles!) then you definitely want to make sure you’re getting enough water every day too.
Add natural flavor to your water.
Sure, we like it natural, but sometimes you need a touch of something to make it a little more exciting. Add a slice of lemon, cucumber, berries or some strawberries to your water to give it some natural, sugar-free flavor. Prepare it in advance, stick it in the fridge and then chuck it into your bag when you’re ready to go.
Or try adding something spicy. You could even make your own version of a healthy soda by adding some lemon slices (or whatever works for you) and carbonated water. Instant healthy drink!
Sip water during your meals.
Not only does this help you control how much you eat, but it’s also an easy way to increase your water intake. Some people like to have a glass of water before, during and after their meal – see if it works for you!
Invest in a good filter.
No need for bottled water, a good filter will filter out all the weird things found in tap water. It will make it taste better. And the better it tastes, the more likely you are to drink more water more often.
Dilute your juice.
Fruit juice packs a lot of calories, but a great way to quench your thirst is to halve it with water. You’ll drink fewer calories, yet you’ll get more hydration goodness.
Use water to conquer cravings.
Many times hunger cravings are actually thirst, so before you eat, try drinking a glass of water first. If you’re still hungry, then eat, but otherwise it may have just been thirst. You can do the same when you have a craving for junk food or soda.
Do you drink enough water? Or do you have your own tip? Let us know in the comments below…