Water is essential to survival. Proper hydration promotes healthy digestion/appetite, energy/performance, and body temperature stability, among many things. H2O carries and assimilates vital nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout the body. It lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste. Water helps maintain blood pressure and lubricates joints. The list goes on…
Even knowing this, why is it such chore for a majority of us to consume adequate amounts of water on a daily basis? Maybe the abundance of exciting and often-times sweet beverage options are a distraction or we easily forget to listen to what our bodies need and hydrate when leading a busy schedule. Even if we think we are taking in enough water, is it really enough?
If the answer is “yes, we need to drink more water,” here are a few tips I recommend:
1. Create a daily routine of drinking water immediately after waking up. My routine – wake up, brush teeth, fill a 16oz cup of water and don’t it put down until it’s empty. Did you know it only takes 21 days to create a new habit?
2. Always carry a reusable water bottle with you. This way a sip or gulp is never out of reach. My kids (ages 5 & 7) follow this rule – start now and never stop!
3. Don’t like the taste of plain water? Infuse your water with lemon, lime, cucumber, berries, or any other fruit of your liking. Yes, it’s not lemonade but give it a try. After a few weeks you’ll realize how your body actually prefers non-sugary beverages.
4. Drink water before, during, and after a workout. Light thirst means impending dehydration. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. The day before I have a long run or big workout I increase my water intake throughout the day and drink electrolytes before bed.
5. Don’t sip your water, chug it. Not to excess, but every time you go to take a sip, take several. You’ll increase your consumption easily and quickly.
6. Remember thirst is often confused with hunger. If you’re truly hungry a glass of water will not satisfy you, but it’s a great place to start before potentially adding on those extra calories.
7. Acknowledge that when you consume soda and other sugary or caffeinated beverages you are not hydrating. Limit these beverages and switch to water. Besides my morning yerba mate, at home I only drink water, coconut water and seltzer. OK, OK, a few beers a week and I save the cocktails for nights out on the town. Even then, I try to work a few glasses of water in-between rounds.
8. Eat fruits and vegetables – Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, oranges, cucumber, celery, bell pepper, zucchini, and tomato are some of the top hydrating fruits and vegetables. Not to mention they are full of antioxidants and micronutrients, all beneficial for your health!
Final Thought: We lose water through breathing, sweating, urinating, bowel movements, diet, and even stress. These all take place naturally within the body so remember water intake should be balanced with water loss. Drink plenty of water every day!
Coach Christine, Kaia FIT Lafayette