Live On Wellness Top 10 Tips for Staying Hydrated
Proper hydration is essential for every cell, tissue and organ in our body to function, and helps us to look and feel our best every day. Whether you are experiencing symptoms of dehydration or simply want to make positive changes in your life around water consumption, these ten tips will help you move forward on your health and wellness journey.
1. Bio-Individuality: The term bio-individuality means there is no one size fits all diet, and that what works for everyone is unique to their individual needs at the present moment. This extends to the amount of water each person needs to feel properly hydrated. The best place to start when determining how much water you require is to figure out what truly works for you and makes you feel your best. Start small and experiment; the goal is to feel energized throughout the day and to be able to recognize when you are thirsty or actually craving something to eat, since dehydration oftentimes masks itself as hunger. It is also important not to over-hydrate, since no one wants to interrupt their sleep to use the bathroom. Therefore, the goal is to drink water throughout the day, but not to the point where it wakes you from sleep during the night. There will also be days when you need more water than others (i.e. after workouts or in hotter weather), so pay attention to your body’s cues and drink more when your body requires it.
2. Add flavor: Water does not have to be boring! Challenge yourself to create unique combinations of flavors by adding different fruits, vegetables and herbs to your water. Start with a pitcher of filtered water and try the following combinations with or without ice. There are no fixed amounts of each ingredient, and figuring out what you like is half the fun. Allow at least two hours for the water to become infused and taste delicious. Experiment and see what works for you:
* strawberry, basil, lemon
* cucumber, lemon, mint
* blackberry, ginger
* blueberry, lemon, rosemary
* watermelon, basil
* lemon, lavender
* cherry, lime
* pineapple, mango
* apple, raspberry, rosemary
* pear, fennel
3. Play a drinking game: No, not that type of drinking game, a water drinking game! Figure out ways to challenge yourself throughout the day to meet different water drinking goals, such as drinking a certain amount by a set time, taking several sips every time you check social media, or drinking a glass before and after each meal. The only limit is your imagination. Play around with fun ways to challenge yourself and see how making it into a game can make staying hydrated more enjoyable.
4. Drink before you eat: A really useful tip to avoid overeating and to ensure you are drinking water throughout the day is to drink a full glass of water before each meal, and some additional water with every snack you have. If you have a hard time remembering to drink water during the day, this is a great way to guarantee you are staying hydrated.
5. Use an App to track: Apps on your phone, such as My Fitness Pal, Daily Water, Hydrate Daily, Waterlogged and Water Balanced, to name just a few, enable you to track your water consumption from the palm of your hand. This is a great option if you use your phone frequently, like to see visuals and/or compare and contrast your water consumption on different days (possibly to figure out what is or isn’t working for you), or wish to learn more about proper hydration. If you are looking to make sustainable changes with respect to your hydration and want to feel in control, this is a great option.
6. Upgrade your water bottle: There are numerous possibilities available these days, with many different sizes and materials to consider, so finding the perfect water bottle for can be a fun challenge. To begin your search, the most common water bottle categories are stainless steel, insulated, plastic, glass and collapsible, and water may taste differently in each of them, so try several and figure out what you prefer. There are also many size options available, such as 20 oz., 24 oz., 32 oz. and 64 oz. Consider whether you may prefer to fill your water bottle once a day, or whether you prefer to fill it up multiple times. If you are using flavor infused waters, do you wish to change up the flavor combinations throughout the day or do you like how the water tastes when fully infused throughout the day? You may also want to consider “usability factors” such as: whether you want the water bottle to fit into a cup holder in your car or bicycle, whether it is comfortable to hold, whether it is easy to take on the go, whether it is leak proof, and whether it has a comfortable mouth opening. There are also many customizable versions if you wish to have a picture of your family, friends or pet on your water bottle, a special logo or image that may motivate you to stay hydrated, or a pretty decorative pattern that you are more likely to reach for during the day. Whichever water bottle is right for you, make sure it is “BPA free,” meaning it is not produced with Bisphenol A, a chemical which is linked to many health concerns, including a higher risk for certain types of cancers, reduced fertility, diabetes and birth defects.
7. Filter your water: Water is absolutely necessary for life, however drinking it straight from your tap or certain spring sources may be hazardous to your health, since it may contain chemicals such as chlorine, fluorine, lead, mercury, hormones, pesticides, trace amounts of antibiotics, just to name a few. There is also never a good reason to drink bottled water, since it is not only expensive and unregulated, but it is not considered any better or safer than tap water, and it is a major source of pollution. The best, cleanest possible water to drink is filtered water. To determine what type of water filtration system is right for you, please refer to www.nsf.org, a non-profit, independent group that tests various water filtration systems. Options include whole house water filtration systems, systems that are placed below the sink and underneath the counter, systems that are placed on the faucet itself, and water pitcher filtrations such as those made by Brita, ZeroWater, BWT and PUR, to name just a few. Making sure the water you put into your body is clean and healthy is just as important as staying hydrated, so familiarize yourself with your options and know the source of your water.
8. Drink more after workouts: The more you exercise, the more important it is to stay hydrated before, during and after your workouts, since you lose water through perspiration. Water is essential for the proper functioning of every cell and tissue in your body, maintaining your body temperature, lubricating your joints, and removing waste through sweat and urination. Therefore, whenever you exercise, remember to replenish your body with water so it can continue to perform optimally.
9. Reward yourself: A great way to make sustainable changes is to reward yourself for goals you set along the way. When you make a conscious decision to drink more water, try setting small attainable goals for yourself and have a reward in mind, to encourage you to follow through on your goal. Rewards that make you feel good or improve your health are wonderful ways to enjoy reaching your goal, and can set in motion positive changes in other areas of your life. Consider the following reward ideas, figure out what may motivate you, and be creative:
* meet a friend for brunch, coffee or dinner
* invest in a fitness tracker
* book a session with a personal trainer
* get a manicure and/or pedicure
* treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers
* purchase a new personalized water bottle
* take a yoga or mediation class
* enjoy a bath or guilt free nap
* treat yourself to a facial or massage
* sign up for a workout class you have been wanting to try
10. Eat your water: If the idea of drinking more water isn’t too exciting, you can also eat water-rich foods that can help you stay hydrated. The following fruits and vegetables have high amounts of water content and can enable you to experience more hydration through eating, as opposed to just drinking your water.
* bell peppers
* bok choy
* swiss chard
With these ten tips in mind, you will be equipped to challenge yourself to become more hydrated and to heal from within. Proper hydration will help your body perform optimally and enable you to feel your best each and every day.