Body

The How’s and Why’s of Proper Hydration

Water.  One of the most important nutrients in our bodies.  It is the cornerstone of physical health. Essential really, yet only 22% of people get proper hydration.  If you are part of the other 78%, then getting more water daily can prove to be beneficial.  Why you may ask?  Well let’s start with the basics: a lack of water leads to dehydration, which in turn leads to a slew of health conditions including headaches, impaired mental function, increased fatigue, and mood just to name a few.

In addition, proper hydration helps with weight loss (dehydration can slow down metabolic function), proper kidney function (helps eliminate toxins), and an increase in energy (water aids with blood flow, which delivers oxygen and nutrients into cells).  Seeing how beneficial hydration is, and really there are no drawbacks, maintaining proper hydration seems like a win-win situation.  

If you are struggling to hit your hydration needs, try incorporating some of these into your weekly routine:

  • First and Last.  Make drinking water the first thing you do in the morning and last thing at night by having a glass of water on the nightstand.  If you take a few sips before snoozing, then make it the first thing you do when you wake up, you will easily consume a couple ounces of water without even getting out of bed.  How easy is that!
  • Eat your water.  Fleshy fruits and veggies like celery, cucumbers, and watermelon offer a lot of hydration.  Mindfully adding some here and there to your meals and snacks can help increase hydration count.  Try packing a container filled with celery sticks in your bag, or munch on some cucumber slices as you prep dinner.  
  • Double fist it. No one says you can only have one kind of beverage at a time. If you drink coffee or tea in the morning, pour yourself a glass of water to go with it. Have a few sips of your morning brew, then a couple swigs of water. Do the same during happy hour or when enjoying a smoothie. Those sips will add up before you know it.
  • Figure Out What You Like.  Can’t stand ice cold beverages?   Drink warm water or herbal teas (just stay away from caffeine as that can be dehydrating for some people).  Find that flat water tastes plain? Buy carbonated water or add some fresh herbs (mint will help make a glass of H20 more refreshing, or thyme for a subtle lemony taste).  You can also use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes to add some flavor (looking at you blueberries).  Do not settle for something that does not taste good to you.  Forcing yourself to drink warm lemon water because someone on insta says its a must, will not make you love it more.  Find what works for you so you can make hydration a long-term habit.
  • Invest in Yourself.  This is for your health.  Buy an aesthetically pleasing water bottle or beautiful water glasses.  Chances are if you spend money on something, you will be more inclined to use it.  Remember this is an investment in your health and you absolutely deserve it – so don’t settle.
  • Make it Fun.  Know others who are looking to up their hydration?  Start a contest.  Have everyone track their water intake for six weeks and the person who drinks the most, wins bragging rights (or a cash pot).  Try out an app to record your consumption or create a habit tracker to place on the fridge. Let others know you are trying to increase your hydration as well.  Once it is out in the universe it becomes real, and accountability sets in. 
  • Accept imperfection.  If you normally only drink twelve ounces a day and expect to increase that to fifty ounces by the next day, accept that it may not happen.  Assess the situation and set a doable expectation for yourself.  You will get to your ultimate goal – but it might take more time than expected and that is fine.

Bottom line- increased hydration will help improve both your physical and mental health.  Listen to your body and do what makes sense for you.  Before you know it, you will be reaping the benefits of hydration. 

What are your go-to water guzzling habits?

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2013/12_0248.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661958

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/water-for-weight-loss-diet#1

https://drcederquist.com/weight-loss-management/water-for-weight-loss-7-ways-hydration-helps

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