It’s no secret staying hydrated is an important part of your overall health, but there are loads of health benefits that aren’t as well known. Hydration can give your metabolism a boost, lubricate your joints, control your body’s temperature, and even help with digestion. If you’re thinking about upping your H2O intake, here are some tips and guidelines to keep in mind.
How much water you need is specific to you
There are all kinds of tips out there for figuring out how much you should be drinking, from 8 glasses per day to half your body weight in ounces. While both of these general guidelines are good goals to aim for, the truth is how much water you need depends on a number of factors. If you’re exercising, or if it’s hot outside, you’ll need to drink more than you do when you’re sitting in an air-conditioned office.
Drink when you’re thirsty
This sounds like a no-brainer, but the main way to make sure you stay hydrated is to quench your thirst. Thirst is your body’s natural way of telling you it’s becoming dehydrated. Other more severe symptoms of dehydration include headaches, dry mouth, cramping, and even nausea.
Drink when you’re hungry
Sometimes thirst can be confused with hunger, so drinking water might keep you from munching when you don’t actually need to. If you’re still hungry after drinking a glass of water, go ahead and grab that snack.
Drink before, during, and after exercise
When you’re exercising your body heats up, causing you to sweat more and lose water. Exercise can also cause you to miss thirst cues—even when you’re mildly dehydrated, so it’s important to drink plenty of water anyway.
Drink throughout the day
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re busy, so having water with you can serve as a reminder. Always carry a large, reusable bottle with you, and keep it full.
Drink (Mostly) water
While other liquids can also help you stay hydrated (it’s a myth that coffee is dehydrating), many beverages tend to come with extra calories and added sugar so it’s best to stick with plain water. If you don’t care for the taste (or lack thereof) of water, try adding calorie-free flavor by dropping in a fresh lemon wedge or other sliced fruits. And, if you’re exercising intensely, sports drinks with added electrolytes will help your body retain water quickly.
How do you stay hydrated? Share your tips by joining the conversation below!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.