Hydration 101: How to Get Hydrated and Stay Hydrated (and Why It Even Matters)

How many times have you been told the importance of staying hydrated for your overall health and wellbeing? Likely so much that this piece of information seems more like common sense than complicated scientific fact.

But why is water vital for everything from illness recovery to sports performance? And how can you make sure you’re actually reaching those hydration benchmarks? Here are some things to think about the next time you reach for a glass of water or feel yourself getting a little parched.

Fitness and Why Hydration Matters

If you want to make your workout harder than it already is, by all means, forget hydration altogether. Doesn’t sound good, does it?

Our bodies are composed of 70% water, so it goes without saying that it is vitally important to virtually every bodily process. Even being slightly dehydrated can slow the production of energy producing enzymes, which in turn can decrease your metabolism.

In addition, water helps prevent muscle cramping, lubricates your joints and regulates your temperature – all necessary things when you’re working out.

How to Know if You’re Properly Hydrated

Most of us are familiar with the basic guideline of consuming eight glasses of water a day. The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to staying hydrated – the numbers can vary drastically depending on your health, the climate you live in, and how active you are.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you exercise (especially exercise that makes you sweat), you should be consuming an additional 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water or more depending on the intensity. In addition, living in a hot or humid climate, or in a location that is above 8,200 feet, you’ll likely need to consume more water. Illness or pregnancy can also require additional hydration.

If you want to keep a guideline in mind, try drinking between a half an ounce to an ounce of water for every pound that you weigh.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Most people who aren’t properly hydrated simply haven’t established a habit of drinking water throughout the day. If this sounds like you, try utilizing some of these tips:

  • Keep a water glass by your bed so you remember to begin and end each day with a large glass of water.
  • Set an alarm to go off at regular intervals as a water break reminder.
  • Check out apps like Waterlogged to help track your water intake.
  • Mark your water bottle with water goals to reach at specific times throughout the day.
  • Consume raw fruits and veggies that have a high water content: cucumber, watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, etc.

Not a Water Drinker? Try These Alternatives 

If you want something a little bit more exciting than plain ol’ water, there are plenty of (healthy) alternatives – like these delicious, make-at-home fruit infused waters.

Raspberry & Lime Infused Water

Blueberry Raspberry Infused Water

Strawberry Mint Infused Water

Tomato Basil Infused Water

Apple Cinnamon Infused Water

Another great alternative (although not quite as inexpensive) are La Croix drinks. Available in a wide variety of flavors, these drinks are free of both sodium and sugar and can serve as an excellent alternative to sodas and sugary fruit drinks.

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