Hydration seems to be a never-ending topic for those involved in health and fitness as professionals or as participants. The one thing we know without debate is that water is the life force of our bodies. Water makes up a part of every single cell, every organ and tissue in our bodies. We all know that on the inside we are 60% water! What many people don’t realize is that even the “dry” parts of us such as bones, muscle and teeth have water as part of their makeup! Water inside our body is a busy nutrient! It transports nutrients to the cells, it acts as our internal shock absorber for the joints and spinal cord, it helps your body maintain its peak body temperature. Water serves to keep our eyes moist as well as our nose and mouth moist. Water is truly indispensable to life itself. We must make proper hydration a priority in our life.
Water is the cheapest and most readily available nutrient. It is truly one of life’s little treasures. Our bodies need it, want it and will literally shrivel up and die if it doesn’t receive it. It is available to all and still by far the least expensive in terms of liquid nutrition.
So knowing all this good stuff about water, why do we see eyes roll when the subject turns to hydration? Maybe because it’s been talked about so much in the health and fitness industry. Having read all the important functions of water in the body though, can you blame us for talking about it?
How much water do we really need? We have heard news stories over the past few years about people getting sick and some from drinking too much water! Let’s clear this up first. Those stories are true and it can happen. However, the people who got sick or worse were drinking such large quantities in such short periods of time that their bodies simply couldn’t handle the load. This is not what a trainer or nutritionist will ever tell you to do. If it’s time for bed and you “forgot” to drink your water, I doubt anyone has ever told you to put on those PJs and drink 64 ounces! If some has said this, RUN!
My rule for clients is half of your body weight in ounces as a minimum, not counting what you drink during exercise. This formula covers the extra water that those living in humid and hot or dessert climates may need just during those long summer months. Based on my rule, a 145 pound person needs a minimum of 72.5 ounces (nine 8 ounce servings) of water a day minimum. If this same person did 1 hour of exercise they should hydrate during exercise as needed but not count that amount towards the 9 glasses for the day.
Now, I completely relate to water being bland and boring at times. There are many ways to spruce things up in terms of flavor, you can even change its texture by freezing in cubes! Here are some of my favorite tips to get in my daily water, without any unnatural additives.
#1: Decide How You Like Your Water
You’ll be more likely to actually enjoy it and drink it regularly. So, try it:
- Room Temperature
- Ice Cold
I love hot water with lemon or a berry on cold winter mornings. I wont try to tell you that I don’t adore and drink my coffee, but I always have a cup of hot water with a berry sitting on my desk right next to the java. Room temperature water is fine for me most days and ice cold on those summer days is just perfect. Try it different temperatures, you may be surprised!
#2: Make Your Daily Water Number Achievable!
Take your total goal ounces and divide it by 3. If you’re a 145 pound person and need 72.5 ounces a day divided by 3 equals 24.16 ounces. 24.16 ounces is just about 3 cups of water.
Here Is Your Plan of Attack!
- Drink 3 cups water from waking until lunch time.
- Drink 3 cups from lunch time until dinner time. This takes care of 6 for the day.
- Finally, you’ll sip on 3 cups of water with dinner until bedtime.
Breaking things up makes it all seem so much more doable doesn’t it? I also keep a full glass next to my daily vitamins. This way I get at least 8 ounces in just by taking my vitamins! SIMPLE!
#3: Jazz Up That Water!
Many of us tend to drink just plain old water. That’s fine if you actually like it that way and will drink it regularly. However the number 1 complaint I hear from clients is, “I don’t like water.” Well, water will always be considered one of the most important nutrients you can provide your body so let’s make it work for you!
- Strawberries (frozen or room temp) in your water
- Squeeze a sweet grapefruit into a glass
- Squeeze lemons
- Squeeze a combination of lemon-lime juices (my personal summer favorite!)
- Make ice cubes with lemon, lime, berry juice and put in a plain glass of water
- Teas up to 2 cups a day can be counted towards your water intake (decaffeinated)
- Remember to try the hot, room-temp and cold versions of all of these.
We can also assist in overall hydration through our foods. Eat plenty of water based foods for extra water power (try low sodium broth based soups also).
Water Based Foods:
When you know what you now know about the importance of water on your health and skin, you may just look for more ways to drink and eat this vital nutrient. Bottoms up!