Friends, I have a drinking problem. With water, that is. I know that drinking adequate amounts of water is crucial for optimal functioning of my body, especially during the summertime, yet I still struggle to get the recommended number of cups of water per day. I’ve got some tips for you and me to stay hydrated in spite of the heat and humidity!
How much water should I be drinking?
Health experts commonly recommend the 8 x 8 rule – eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day because it is easy to remember and a reasonable goal to obtain. However, the Institute of Medicine recommends about 13 cups of water daily for men and 9 cups for women. It’s important to note that the foods we eat and other beverages consumed, even coffee, are also sources that help hydrate the body, but shouldn’t necessarily be included in the amounts recommended above.
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
The body is made up of about 60% water and thrives when it is properly hydrated, so too little water can lead to a number of side effects. You know you’re dehydrated when you:
- Are thirsty
- Have dry mouth
- Have decreased energy and feel lethargic
- Are unable to focus
- Are dizzy
- Lack strength
- Have a headache
If you are feeling any of the symptoms above, do your body a favor by reaching for a glass of water. The easiest way to stay on top of your hydration game is to analyze the color of your pee. Yes, I said “pee!” If your urine is a light shade of yellow, you are probably well hydrated. But if it starts to resemble more of a honey hue, it is usually a sign to drink more water. Second-guessing yourself? Check out this color chart just for kicks!
How can I get more water throughout the day?
Okay, time to put our knowledge into action. Here are some tips to help you drink more water throughout the day:
Start your day with lemon water. I picked up this habit a few months ago after seeing many articles touting the benefits of hot lemon water in the morning (preferably on an empty stomach and including lemon zest) and thought I would give it a try! This daily habit is known to improve overall digestion and help detoxify the body of impurities, but for me, the greatest benefit is ensuring I get a cup of water in my system before my morning coffee. Win!
Mark your goals on a large water bottle and refill throughout the day. I have read many articles and blogs on hydration that recommend marking your favorite water bottle with time goals at the amount you want consumed. I have not tried this, but it seems like a great idea! See a visual of this tip, here.
Flavor your water with natural (and calorie-free) ingredients! This is my favorite tip because it’s easy and is a great way to switch up the flavor of your water throughout the day. It may even encourage those non-water drinkers out there to get a little more H20, and enjoy it! I like to flavor my water with the following combinations, but you can use just about any fruit (other than banana) or herb you like!
- Cucumber + mint = a spa classic
- Muddled strawberries + blueberries = berry bliss
- Cantaloupe + honeydew = a subtle, refreshing hint of sweetness (make it event more refreshing by freezing the melon cubes to use as ice!)
- Raspberry + lime = a great alternative to sugary fruit drinks (also great with carbonated water!)
- Lemon + orange slices = a zesty way to brighten up your day!
If you are like me and don’t necessarily want chunks of fruit getting in the way when you take a sip, an infused water bottle or pitcher is the perfect solution! Check out these options here and here.
Always carry a water bottle with you. Whether you are at a desk most of the day or frequently on the go, make sure you have a water bottle near by to sip from throughout the day. It is best to drink liquids consistently and in smaller amounts, versus guzzling a large amount several times throughout the day (although this is usually necessary after a sweaty run or workout!). Some of my favorite water bottles can be found here and here.
I know what you’re thinking – more water means more trips to the bathroom. Trust me, I’m cringing at the thought with you! But the leg crossing and bathroom breaks are totally worth the many health benefits of staying properly hydrated.
So who’s up for the challenge? Commit to drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water with me this summer and tag your pictures with #iheartfitliving!
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