The Importance of Hydration
Water is essential for our bodies to work properly. It has a huge impact on digestion, circulation, and excretory functions. It is required for the transportation of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells, and to make saliva, which helps protect against tooth decay. Water helps cushion joints and plays a major role in maintaining body temperature. Water is basically important for everything we do.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF DEHYDRATION?
When we talk about dehydration, most people picture someone stumbling through the desert in tattered clothes and chapped lips! While it might not look as dramatic, dehydration is a very serious health risk. You can go A LOT longer without food than you can without water (you can go 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water). Even mild dehydration can cause a lot of issues during the day that impact your wellbeing, mood and productivity. Being just 1% dehydrated can cause:
- Fatigue (lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue)
- Dry skin
- Inability to focus
And on top of all that, mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%, making you sluggish and less efficient and stalling weight-loss!
WHAT DOES BEING THIRSTY TELL US ABOUT OUR HYDRATION LEVEL AND WHAT DOES BEING THIRSTY HAVE TO DO WITH WEIGHT-LOSS?
- Newsflash:if you’re thirsty it’s already too late! But yes, drink whenever you get thirsty. The problem is, to function your best, you should be drinking BEFORE you’re thirsty…especially at work. Keeping hydrated keeps your energy up.
- Also, sometimes we confuse feeling thirsty with feeling hungry. Therefore a GREAT way to lose weight is to drink MORE water because dehydration is often confused for hunger. If we’re feeling tired and sluggish, often times we try to combat that with eating. Having a glass of water will help your metabolism work more efficiently, make you feel full and keep you from having a soda!
- Cool Fact: One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study!
SO HOW MUCH WATER DO WE ACTUALLY NEED?
- Studies have shown that women need nearly 3 liters of water a day and that men need closer to 4 liters. But those numbers can be influenced by many factors:
- Weight: If you’re a larger person, you need more water
- Activity Level: The more you exercise, the more you need.
- Higher altitude/drier climates (Altitudes greater than 8,200 feet may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves)
- Extreme hot or cold (both tax the body and cause you to need more water)
- Fever or diarrhea (when you’re sick, your body needs extra fluids)
CAN WE GET PROPERLY HYDRATED WITH OTHER THINGS BESIDES WATER LIKE COFFEE, TEA OR EVEN
- Good news: we don’t just get water from what we drink, we actually get about 20% of our fluids from what we eat. Especially fruits and vegetables.
- Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it makes our bodies secrete water. So there was a long time assumption that drinking caffeinated beverages actually dried us out. But a recent study showed that, while caffeine is a diuretic, if you’re drinking it regularly. Your body actually compensates and, in the end, despite having to go to the bathroom a little more frequently, you don’t end up losing fluids! This means that coffee actually counts towards our fluid goal! Just make sure not to load your coffee with artificial flavors, sweeteners or other chemical stuff. Water, water with lemon, straight/black coffee, juices and herbal teas are best!
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR STAYING HYDRATED ALL DAY?
Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. It’s an easy way to track your water
consumption. Just carry a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap instead.
If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
Always drink water at a restaurant, when you finish your glass, often times they’ll fill it back up!
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