WATER: YOUR GREATEST RESOURCE
Have you ever forgotten a bottle of water for an exercise class, neglected to drink something while you are outside in the garden all morning, or even simply overlooked drinking enough while sitting at your work desk? Lack of proper hydration is one of the most common preventable medical conditions, yet there are still millions of cases of dehydration in the United States every year. Going without water for 72 hours can actually decrease your likelihood of staying alive by 100%. Thinking about hydration in the terms of life or death, I would say water is one of the MOST important aspects of living wouldn’t you? So what is it that makes staying hydrated one of our lesser priorities? Common causes of dehydration are busy schedules, lack of access to safe drinking water, illness, getting overheated, and lack of replenishment after excessive sweating.
Proper water intake helps control body temperature, maintains proper muscle/organ/brain function, improves metabolism, encourages healthy skin production, provides energy, and aids in digestion as well as heart and kidney function. Becoming dehydrated can cause excessive sweating, fever diarrhea, vomiting, increased urination, and sluggishness. So finding ways to combat the possibility of dehydration due to a busy life or warmer temperatures is of utmost importance not only to your overall health but also to your ability to do the things you must do day to day.
Eat lots of vegetables and fruits
Foods from these groups like watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, and celery contain more than 90% water. So when you are feeling a little parched and searching for a healthy snack, look no further than the produce department.
Carry a refillable water bottle
Not only can pre-filled plastic water bottles be wasteful, but they can also hinder your hydration. Carrying a refillable water bottle will encourage you to take your bottle to the water fountain or break room water dispenser when it becomes empty.
Keep water with you
Ensuring you have access to enough clean, drinking water wherever you go will encourage you to drink more water regularly. I always keep a 32oz cup of water on my office desk as a reminder to drink throughout the day, and I even go as far as to carry a 12 ounce water bottle in my purse when I am grabbing some groceries or running errands.
Add some fruit for flavor
Ok, let’s face it. Water can taste bland over time. So infuse your water with fruit to spice it up a bit. Try fruits like lemon, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi or grapes. A plus for adding fruit to your water is the electrolytes you can get from eating bits of the fruit as well!
Know the right recommendation of water intake
In general, the tip from experts has changed from the commonly known “eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day” to ½ -1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. For example, if Sue weights 150lbs, she should aim to consume 75-150 ounces of water via drinking or eating.
Health and nutrition experts alike also acknowledge that your proper consumption of water not only depends on your size and weight, but also on your activity level and even where you live.
Measure your water
Luckily, if you are already willing to grab a refillable water bottle and know how much water you should be aiming to ingest daily to stay hydrated, you are on your way to soar with this tip! Try using a water bottle that will make your measuring easy. For example, Sue is trying to get about 128 ounces of water today. She has purchased a 32 ounce water bottle which if she fills up and drinks four times of, she will have successfully met her goal.
So try keeping a 24 ounce or more water bottle handy to make your hydration goal easier and measurable!
Drink water at regular intervals
Scheduling time to drink some water will help create a habit of staying hydrated as well as with your overall health. Experts recommend drinking at least a glass upon waking up to activate your metabolism and internal organs, a glass of water before meals to help with digestion, a glass before a bath can help lower blood pressure, and a glass about an hour before bed can help your body’s cell renewal process during sleep.
Be aware of your body
When you are dehydrated, your body’s muscles can become fatigued causing you to feel rather lethargic. So try drinking some water and allowing your body to rest for a bit before you return to your task.
I hope these tips find a place in your busy life so that you will not be another statistic of dehydration!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC