Why is proper hydration important?

Far too often have I asked clients what their total water intake is, and the answer is always too little.  Sometimes I have even gotten that people are AFRAID to drink water because they are afraid they will gain the water weight.  Excess water weight usually happens with too much salt in your diet because salt makes you swell up and retain fluid but it does not mean that you should stop drinking water in order to keep the number on the scale from going up.  How much water in a day should somebody aim for?  Water accounts for about 50-60% of our total body weight.  Personally, I usually go off of multiplying your body weight by .5 if you’re sedentary,  by .6 if you’re lightly active, and by .7-.8 if you are very active to ensure you are putting back the liquids your body sweats off. You can always check with you doctor to see if you’re drinking the right amount of water.

Here are 9 simple reasons to make sure you are drinking enough water:

1.  Regulate body fluids.  Your body needs water to aid in digestion, nutrient transport and absorption, as well as body temperature regulation.

2. Appetite Control:  despite what many people think about water making you gain weight it actually helps you control and even lose weight.  Why? Imagine how many calories you would save if you’re day didn’t consist of 8 glasses of juices and sodas, but only of water. You can also find water in the foods you eat. Foods like fruits, veggies and oatmeal look large and are very filling because they contain higher amounts water compared to other foods.  Bigger, healthier foods with less calories and more water still fills you up because they take up the same amount of room in your stomach as lets say a doughnut and a creamy latte.

3. Water gives your muscles energy.  When the cells that make up your muscles are lacking in fluids and electrolytes they shrivel up, which causes muscle fatigue.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking about 17 oz. of water 2 hours before exercise, at the beginning of the exercise and regularly during your workout to ensure proper hydration and replacement of fluids lost in sweat.

4. Radiant skin.  When you’re dehydrated your skin gets very dry and wrinkly.  So proper hydration allows for glowing skin and less wrinkles.

5. Mental Focus.  Dehydration messes with your memory, motor skills, and attention span.  Trust me on this one!  A few weeks ago I misjudged my rehab time after dealing with the stomach flu and I went to workout in the sun.  Long story short as I’m lying on the floor staring at the medics, it was very difficult to mumble the answers to the questions I was being asked (one word answers mind you).  While trying to rehydrate myself, I found myself very unproductive.  All I wanted to do was lay in bed and watch TV.  For those that know me, that is the complete opposite of who I am.

6. Drinking water aids your kidneys in detoxing your body (peeing).  When you’re hydrated, your urine is light and odorless.  On the contrary, the darker and smellier your pee is, the more you need water.

7. Prevents headaches.  Have you noticed that when you go without water for a long time you get a headache? Well, that’s your body’s way of asking for water.  Case studies have found that people who suffer from migraines and drink 2-3 glasses of water within 2 hours of having it, show a decrease in overall tension and pain.

8.  Immune health.  Regular peeing allows your body to get rid of germs and bacteria that may causes viruses like the common cold.

9.  Digestive health.  When you deprive your body of water, the kidneys become forced to take liquid from your poop (gross, i know), which makes it harder for your body to excrete your poop.  Proper hydration allows for your kidneys to receive the water it needs.  It also allows the fiber from your diet to expand inside of your body to help you poop more frequently.  You should be using the restroom at least once a day. Anything else, is considered constipation.

How much water do I drink?  For my weight and activity level I drink a gallon of water a day.  How do I make sure I’m drinking enough water? I have found that water bottles just don’t work for me because by the time I drink them, I forget to refill them or I just get caught up with a million and one things.  So instead, I carry around a gallon.  Yes, It’s annoying but it beats having to waste time refilling water bottles and it allows me to keep track of my daily water consumption.

I posted a picture with a coupon code for gallon gear. It has saved my life.  Not only does it keep my water gallons cold, but when I go to the gym I leave everything in the trunk of my car because theres a space for my wallet, phone, and keys.  It’s genius! I definitely recommend it to athletes or anyone that is serious about their hydration.

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