Happy June 21st!! Aside from it being a Friday (Yay!), today is also officially the first day of Summer (double YAY)! Can you tell I am a little excited?!?! 😊 I am a summer girl, no doubt about it. I don’t like the cold weather at all so as soon as the trees start to bloom and the birds start to chirp again, I am a happy camper. Aside from just not liking the cold, I really love the warmer weather because it means I can be outdoors more. Whether it be hiking, rock climbing, swimming, running…I am just happy to be outside enjoying mother nature. The heat doesn’t bother me at all unlike the cold which is physically painful for me these days. I would take a 100-degree day over a 20-degree day anytime! Anyone else?? With the summer heat though, you do have to take extra precautions if you are going to be outside no matter if you are engaging in a physical activity or just laying by the pool. Aside from applying and reapplying generous amounts of sunscreen (which is crucial especially for a really light skinned person such as myself), staying hydrated is a must!
I wanted to write about this particular topic because I have now been on this health and wellness journey of mine for over a year. It started out with me just wanting to lose a few pounds but has rapidly transformed into so much more. These days I am really trying to make sure I pay attention to my overall health, not just the number on the scale (which I still don’t own and probably never will because I think they are evil little things). Along with exercising and eating right, a huge part of being healthy is making sure we are properly hydrated. This is extra important in the summer months, but it really should be a year-round, everyday goal. Our bodies are made up of 60% water after all! Water is so crucial to us for so many different reasons. For instance, water helps us:
- Regulate our body temperatures
- Helps to convert food to energy
- Cushions our joints
- Moves nutrients and waste/toxins through and out of our bodies
- Makes our skin healthier and gives us that glow we all want 😊
- It can even help with weight loss by suppressing our appetites and keeping us from consuming high calorie foods or beverages when we may not even really be hungry…just thirsty!
And those are just a few of the many reasons water is so important to our very existence. So knowing it’s importance, the next question becomes how much do we need on a daily basis to reap all those benefits mentioned above? I’ve heard everything from a gallon a day, to the popular 8 glasses a day, to just drink whenever you are thirsty and that will suffice. So which one of those is accurate?? Well in looking into this topic further I found out that the exact amount depends on a number of variables, such as your gender, your overall state of health, how active you are and even where you live. For instance, if you live in a more arid, dessert-like region where it is warm most of the year you are probably going to need to drink more than say someone who lives in a cooler climate by a body of water.
According to the Mayo Clinic, however, a good overall guideline for your daily intake is as follows:
- MEN: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day
- WOMEN: About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day
Now don’t forget you get about 20% of the water you need from food you are already eating during the day. Foods like fruits, vegetables and even soups are good sources of water as is your daily cup of coffee and even smoothies or in my case the superfood shakes I drink each day. Like many other things health and fitness related, listening to and paying attention to your body is also key in monitoring if you are hydrated properly. Generally, if you are not thirsty and your urine is pretty clear you are doing well! On the other hand, common signs you need to up your fluid intake because dehydration might be creeping up on you are:
- Dry Skin
- Dry Mouth, Dry Lips
- Dizziness and Fainting
- Confusion/Feeling Mentally Foggy
- Dark Colored Urine or Little Urine Production
So now that we know why staying hydrated is important, have a good general idea of how much fluid we should be taking in each day and are aware of some of the signs of dehydration, lets talk about some ways to make sure we are hitting our hydration goals each day. For me, it’s just about always having water with me. I carry a water bottle literally everywhere I go! The more I have it with me, the more likely I am to meet my numbers…
A few other great tips for getting the recommended amount of fluids each day are below:
- Drink a glass before and after meals. This gives you a set time each day when you are already focused on fueling your body so sneaking in two cups here can just become part of your meal routine. It also might help to fill you up so you don’t eat quite as much!
- Keep a measured/marked water bottle with you all the time. You tend to want to meet your goals when they are right in front of you all day!
- Refill your water bottle as soon as you empty it!
- Add flavor! Use fresh fruit, vegetables or herbs like mint. It’s also fun to freeze fruit into your ice cubes and then add that to your water.
- Use a water tracking app on your phone – some good FREE ones are Daily Water and My Water Balance.
- Follow each caffeinated beverage you intake with a glass of water. Caffeine is a diuretic which means it causes you to have to go to the bathroom more. Refilling your body with water after you drink something caffeinated will ensure you are replacing those fluids that you might be losing due to the caffeine intake.
Find what works for you and stick with it. Again for me, I know if I just have my water bottle within reach at all times I am setting myself up for success. I keep a full bottle on my desk at work each day. I make sure I have it with me in the car every time I go some where and I keep it filled up and on my night stand each night when I get in bed. I have also started to keep watermelon in the fridge all the times because it consists of 92% water and makes a great snack! Try sprinkling it with some kosher salt…yummmmm! And more recently I have started to track my water intake using my little, mimi-Happy Planner, which I carry everywhere with me. 😊 I find for me that if I track things like this I hold myself more accountable to meeting or exceeding what I did the day or week before. But again, whatever works for you….just drink up!!