DEHYDRATION: Drink Up

Good morning, friends! Happy February! I feel as though I blinked and January was over…anyone else feel that way? 2017 is off to a fast start and I hope all of you have been working hard towards the goals and NYR’s that you set for yourself. Whether you have or haven’t, it’s a new day, a new month, and the perfect time to set some new goals.
One goal that I always try to work on, on a daily basis, is staying hydrated. When the weather is cold and I am (always) freezing, the last thing I want to do is drink ice cold water. No, thank you. But, many of you mentioned, that you also struggle with drinking enough water as well. So… this week’s blog post is to give you a little bit of insight into why drinking your water is so important and give you some tips to get it all in.
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Before I tell you some tips on how to drink all the fluids, first let me tell you why hydration is so important. Water is one of the most important nutrients for the body because it plays a major role in so many bodily functions. The body is made up of between 50%-75% water (depending on various factors such as age, gender, body composition, etc.) so it only makes sense that water is important.
    • Healthier brain function. Such as improved concentration, thought processing, and decreased fatigue. Fatigue has been shown to increase appetite which could lead to overeating (which I mention more about a few bullets down)
    • Improved gut health. Such as decreased constipation and riding the urinary and digestive tract of bad bacteria. Also, less bloating. Dehydration leads your body to cling to the water it already has. Drinking more water will help your body to excrete the excess water and in turn, decrease bloating.
    • Healthier joints. Water cushions the joints and helps to prevent injury,
    • Healthier bones and teeth. Drinking water that contains fluoride helps to strengthen the bones and the teeth.
    • Healthier skin. This means less wrinkly, dull skin. Man, you tell me this and I am chugging water nonstop (lol, but seriously though).
    • Aid in weight loss. This isn’t to say the more water you drink, the more weight you lose. BUT, drinking more water can help curb hunger and prevent overeating as thirst can often times be mistaken for hunger.
If all those benefits aren’t enough for you to start taking your hydration seriously, let’s talk about some of the consequences of being dehydrated. Besides the decreased effectiveness of all your bodily functions, dehydration can lead to impaired coordination, decreased concentration, and slowed thinking. For athletes who are already sweating more than the average population (yes, I’m talking to you – all you bodybuilders, powerlifters, and gym goers out there) dehydration can be detrimental to your performance in the gym. It can lead to reduced endurance, decreased strength, delayed reaction time, cause cramps, and slow the growth and repair of muscles.
The easiest way to tell if you are dehydrated is urine color… okay, pee color. This isn’t a formal blog here, I am talking about your pee. Pee, pee, pee. Proper hydration means your pee is a straw or lemonade color. If it’s dark, like an orange color, you’re dehydrated and you best be drinkin’ up.
So by now you realize how important it is to be conscious about how much water you are taking in and here are some tips to help make drinking that water a little bit easier.
  • Start the day off by drinking a glass of water. It’ll help start your day off on the right foot and (bonus) it’ll help you feel more awake and alert.
  • Set a daily goal. How much water do you want to drink daily? Set a goal for yourself and keep track. Whether that is keeping a tally on a note pad, or using an app on your phone.
  • Get a water bottle or tumbler. Fill that bad boy up and keep it filled. Take it with you everywhere and you’ll have no excuse not to be drinking water throughout the day. I found my water bottle at target and I bought my tumbler (that I mentioned in my December/January favorites) at Starbucks.
  • Use a straw. It is so much easier to drink more when you are drinking out of a straw. I don’t know why but you will drink more using a straw. Reason #283729 why I love my Starbucks tumbler mentioned above is because it helps me drink more water.
  • Try infused water. Sick of boring, plain water? Try adding fresh fruit or herbs to your water. You can add so much to your water for added flavor such as lemon, strawberries, oranges, mint leaves, cucumber, you name it…. Try a flavor combination for a week then switch it up the next for something different.
  • Drink packets. If you aren’t a fan of artificial sweeteners you can skip this tip, however I am a fan so I love to use drink packets when I want to mix things up. There are so many different flavor packet options out there so there’s bound to be a flavor you enjoy.  I enjoy lemonade and peach ice tea flavors as of late, but I always switch them up week to week to keep it interesting.
  • For every other “beverage” you drink, alternate with water. Having a glass of wine? Drink some water next. Having a drink with a drink packet mixed in? Have a glass of water next. Drink a diet dr. pepper? Drink a glass of water next. You get my point…
  • Spicy foods. Chances are if you are eating something spicy, you’re going to be drinking more water. Add some more spice or heat to your food as a way to drink more water.
  • Eat your water. Yes, I said eat. Foods such as cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, and grapefruit are just a few examples of foods that have a high water content. You can incorporate these foods into your diet for a way to get in more water daily.morewater.jpg

The bottom line? Water is crucial for living a healthy lifestyle so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. So how much should you drink? According to the Institute of Medicine, adult males should drink about 15 cups of water and adult females about 11 cups of water. (For reference: A gallon of water is 16 cups). Keep in mind that athletes, those that sweat a lot, or people that work in a hot/humid environment need even MORE water to replace the water (and electrolytes) lost through sweat.

So grab a water bottle, a straw, and some flavor packets and drink up. What are some of your tips and tricks for getting in your daily water intake? In what ways do you struggle to drink enough water? Leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks so much for checking out my blog, as always. Please like/subscribe/comment, all that jazz, and keep checking back for more. Feel free to leave ideas for future posts in the comments as well.

Talk soon,
pbandlaurenkelly
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