Is anyone else besides me terrible at drinking water? I have no idea why it’s so difficult for me to get my daily dose in but one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to improve my water intake. But what’s so important about staying hydrated?
Water makes up about 60% of our bodies and is one of the most essential nutrients needed for our survival. Below are just some of its functions:
- Carries nutrients and waste products throughout the body
- Helps metabolize minerals, vitamins, protein, carbohydrates
- Acts as a lubricant and cushion around joints, inside of eyes, and spinal cord
- Regulates our body temperature
- Maintains blood pressure
- Aids in digestion – preventing constipation (especially if you consume a lot of fiber)
- Helps with daily tasks involving concentration, alertness and short-term memory
Because we excrete about 2.5 liters per day of water through urine, sweat, breath, and feces, our body relies on the fluids we get from water, other beverages, and even foods in order to replenish itself. If the fluids consumed are too little compared to the fluids excreted, the water balance is thrown off and dehydration can occur.
How much should you drink? The recommendation is about 8-12 cups of water per day. Exercise will put you at the higher end of this recommendation depending on how much you sweat.
Before you go chug a gallon of water…believe it or not, there is such think as water intoxication too. Excessive water intake (10-20 liters) within a few hours can dilute the sodium concentration of your blood – this will lead to confusion, convulsions, and even death in some cases.
So what signs should you look for when assessing hydration status? Well we all know the basic fact that pee should be light yellow to clear. Bright yellow and orange urine is a general sign that you should be drinking more fluids. Other symptoms of dehydration include general thirst, weakness, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. For those athletes out there, dehydration can also put a damper on your workout.
Like I said, I am nowhere near close to a good water drinker but the more I drink the better I feel. My workouts and digestion have improved and so haven’t my dizzy spells. I thought it was normal to see stars when I stood up quickly. (it’s not)
Here are a couple of tips I have found to help me improve my water intake:
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times – the constant reminder is helpful
- Flavor your water – lemon, lime, strawberries, blueberries and other fruits are great infused into water to get some flavor
- Set a timer – I’ve even tried some of the water timer apps for my phone
Start improving your intake and I’m sure you will feel A LOT better!