Everyone knows water is important, but...do you know why it's important? Hint: It goes well beyond the simple answer of "hydration." Water plays a critical role in the body's functions, and without it, our bodies - to put it quite simply - stop working. Check out all that water does for us:
- Acts as a universal solvent, dissolving many substances our cell's needs;
- Lubricates and cushions our joints from shock and impact;
- Carries many needed nutrients throughout the body;
- Helps the body regulate temperature;
- Assists in cleansing tissues and blood;
- Participates in the billions of chemical reactions that occur in the body every second.
Looking at this list, it makes sense, then, why we need enough water and why we need it frequently. So, that begs the question: how much water do we need? A lot of people would answer that with: "eight glasses a day!" But, as with a pair of pants, for example, one size does not fit all. We are all different sizes with different activity levels eating different foods. On top of that, alcohol consumption, weather, altitude, medications, age, and health issues/diseases - all of it determines how much water we actually need. The best way to determine your needs is to look at your output...that's right, your pee. If your urine is too light or too dark, you're either under-consuming or over-consuming (yep, that's a thing) water. But, if it's the shade of lemonade, or a pale yellow, you're giving your body what it needs in terms of hydration.
In the summer months, it's easy to become dehydrated. Many of us are more active, and of course, we lose tons of water via sweat. So, how do we stay hydrated? Here are a few tips:
Carry a water bottle with you and refill often – set a water goal for yourself.
Mix up your water routine with a little flavor - add a wedge of citrus fruit, watermelon, or cucumber.
If you're trying to cut down on soda, try adding a squeeze of lemon/lime or a small splash of juice to seltzer water. It's a great substitute - I promise!
Drink water first thing in the morning, and keep a bottle next to your bed at night.
Alcohol and caffeine can affect your hydration status, so limit both and alternate water with each drink or coffee/tea.
It's HOT out there, so extra water is in order. And if you're exercising? Drink even more.
Don't forget about hydrating foods! Cucumbers, watermelons, and many other fresh fruits and vegetables can boost your water intake effortlessly.
Happy Summer, everyone!