Thirsty Thursday: How to Stay Hydrated
Today I want to talk about something that is often overlooked in how to be healthy: hydration.
Being hydrated plays such an important role in your health and, surprisingly, it is hardly mentioned as a solution to some of the problems you might be having. Frequent headaches, dry skin, and fatigue are just some of the effects of being dehydrated.
Here are some of the wonderful benefits of drinking water, according to WebMD:
1. Maintains Balance of Body Fluids
Despite common belief, if you feel bloated, chance are you do not have enough water in your system. Many people tend to think that bloat is a sign of too much water, so they begin taking silly things like water pills. Staying hydrated will help your body to balance how much fluid it needs and expel the fluid that it does not.
2. Controls Calorie Consumption
Staying hydrated can help you to feel fuller for a longer amount of time. When you are dehydrated, you are more likely to consume more calories, as the brain can often confuse thirst for hunger. If you feel thirsty, you actually are already dehydrated, so make sure you keep drinking throughout the day even if you don’t necessarily feel thirsty. Furthermore, substituting water instead of pop, juice, or other sugary beverages will help you to slash some calories!
3. Helps Muscles Perform
Your muscles LOVE water! It helps them to perform at their best ability, as hydration helps to keep electrolyte levels in check. Before exercising, make sure you drink at least a cup of water about 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to your routine. Also, during your workout, make sure that you are replenishing your fluids, by drinking water throughout your exercise. This is especially important if you are sweating a lot or if you are working out in a hot environment.
4. Keeps Skin Glowing
Since your skin is composed largely of water, staying hydrated greatly improves the appearance of your skin. Once you increase your water intake, you will notice after a while a more plump appearance to your skin along with a healthy little glow.
5. Aids in Digestion
Water helps to flush toxins out of your body, which in turn, helps out your digestive system. No one likes carrying around extra gunk in their digestive tract. Water will help push food through your intestines, making it easier to leave the body.
Tips to Stay Hydrated:
Now, I realize that not everyone enjoys the “taste” of water, and sometimes it can be difficult to get your full 6-8 glasses in (I typically try to drink at least a gallon), so here are some tips to make it a little easier:
- Carry a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE. Seriously. I am never seen without mine. Ever. These are my personal favorites; since they are 32 oz I only need to drink 2 of them a day and the finger loop makes it super easy to carry around with me. Usually, a water bottle that’s larger tends to be heavy and uncomfortable to carry, but this design is the best one I have found so far.
2. Add fresh or frozen fruit. This will add a subtle flavor to your water, if you find the taste of plain water to be boring. My personal favorites are lemons, limes, and frozen berries.
3. Another option if you do not enjoy the taste, is to use a little fruit juice. If you never drink water, you can start by doing 3/4 juice to 1/4 water, and then slowly decrease the amount of juice and increase the amount of water
4. Eat foods with high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, lettuce, etc. Foods can have hydrating effects as well!
5. And lastly, if you are a visual person, like myself, I fill up a plastic gallon of water every morning and use that as my goal. I often forget how many bottles of water I have already consumed, so that serves as my reminder of how much more I have to go! I use one like this as it’s BPA free and made of a more solid plastic, so it doesn’t get all flimsy.