Along with the above functions, water is crucial in temperature regulation, fat burning, muscle strength and control, mental performance, disease and illness prevention, and daily functioning. Water also cushions the body to avoid injury; helps detoxify the kidneys and liver, and transports vital oxygen around the body. Water can make your skin clearer, smoother and younger looking by flushing out toxins and impurities. You can see that water is vital to our health and wellbeing. Everyday you lose on average 10 to 12 cups of water that needs to be replaced to main your body’s fluid balance.
You shouldn’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. By the time our bodies tell us we’re thirsty, we’re already in a state of dehydration. You need to drink water at regular intervals, regardless of thirst, and you need to do this everyday. One way to determine your need for water is to divide your weight (in pounds) in half; that number in ounces is your recommended daily intake.
Here are some tips to help with daily water consumption and prevent dehydration.
1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning and another before you go to bed.
2. Develop a consistent water plan with consumption evenly paced through the day.
3. Keep water bottle near you at all times as a reminder to drink up. Purchase a sturdy water bottle, rather than re-using plastic bottles. Find one that you like to drink out of.
4. When you’re exercising you need to consume even more water to replace lost fluids. The American Dietetic Association recommends at least two cups of fluids two hours before exertion, followed by another two cups 15-20 minutes after exercises, as well as replenishing fluids every 15 minutes during your workout. If you are exercising for more than one hour you may need to consume a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes.
5. Schedule water breaks into your workouts, one big sip after every set or every 15 minutes on the treadmill.
6. Put some slices of lemon or lime into your water to make it extra refreshing. You can also try mint or honey in either hot or cold water for a tasty drink.
7. Drink a glass of water before and after every meal.
8. Always drink one glass of water for every cup of coffee, alcohol or soda.
9. Herbal teas count and can provide some much needed variety to your water intake.
10. Dilute fruit juices and sports drinks by at least half.
11. Fill two 32 oz. water bottles and have both finished by the end of the day. Keep them in the fridge so you’ve got nice cold water to go.
12. Wear a watch that beeps every hour and drink a glass of water every time it beeps.
13. Use a straw, it seems to help a lot of people get down the water they need.
Dehydration is dangerous and unpleasant. Measure your water intake for a few days to make sure you’re getting enough. When in doubt, check your urine, it should be a very pale yellow or clear and have no odor. Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, burning in the stomach, light-headedness, dark urine with a strong odour, a dry cough, flushed skin, and a dry mouth. Drink up, especially as temperatures rise, to look and feel your best everyday.