Drink your Way to Wellness, Water that is…
Water and hydration are the most vital part of our body’s nourishment.
One of the most important foundations to wellness and nutrition is hydration. First off, if you feel thirsty under normal circumstances, your body is asking for water, not a sports drink, coffee, alcoholic drink, soda, or anything else. When we feel thirsty this means that our body has detected low levels of water and we are already becoming dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include thirst, dizziness, headaches, dry skin, constipation, confusion, fatigue, negative mood, sleepiness, and poor athletic performance.
Water is said to make up about 60% of our body’s weight and is in and around every cell, tissue and organ of our body, is used in energy metabolism and digestion, helps regulate body temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, protects our brain and spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and helps us get rid of wastes through urination, sweating, and bowel movements. We lose up to half a gallon of water or more per day simply due to breathing, perspiration, loss through our skin, and digestion. This does not include water used during metabolism and all of the normal chemical processes of our body. If you are in a warm climate, are active, have a fever, or aren’t feeling well and have diarrhea or are vomiting, water needs increase even more. In general, if you drink whenever you are thirsty, you will be adequately hydrated. A good recommendation to use as a guide is to drink about one 8 oz. cup of water for every 20 lbs. of body weight. For a 160 lb. person, this would be 8 glasses.
Being well hydrated is especially important for those working to manage their weight. Some foods that we eat can contain quite a bit of water; a juicy piece of fruit for example. Because foods are another water source for our body, we can sometimes feel hungry and have a craving for something to eat when maybe we are just a bit dehydrated and water would provide what our body really needs.
- If you feel thirsty, your body is asking for water, so drink water
- Dark colored urine indicates dehydration, clear urine indicates adequate hydration
- If you are active for 1-2 hours or more, you may benefit from a sports drink to help replace electrolytes as well as water
- Drink water before, during, and after exercise
- Staying well hydrated keeps our skin hydrated and looking younger and less wrinkled
- Alcohol is dehydrating, drink at least one extra glass of water for each alcoholic drink
- Dont drink too much water before bed, it can disrupt your sleep
- If you are working to manage weight, try drinking water before having a snack
- Carry a water bottle during the day to remind you to stay hydrated
- Try water as an afternoon pick-me-up, dehydration can cause fatigue
- Drinking water instead of other beverages usually saves a bit of money
- Drink cold water, you may drink a bit more and it actually burns a couple extra calories
- Try adding lemon or lime to your water to add some flavor
For assistance in working water into your routine, browse our Merchant Directory to begin working with one of our qualified nutrition experts.
Author: Tony Montijo, BS Kinesiology, CPT, CES
Sources: CDC.gov, mayoclinic.com