There’s a struggle for many of us when it comes to our health, and that’s taking in enough water. The idea seems simple enough. But, in our experience at Thriveology, we just have a hard time getting in as much water as we should for proper hydration.
There are tons of reasons why you might having this same issue:
– Maybe you don’t like the flavor(lessness) of water
– It could feel like it takes too much time to refill your bottle constantly
– You may simply forget to drink water all together
Whatever your reason, it’s likely that this water deficit is holding you back from achieving your health & fitness goals. This may seem surprising on the surface. But, as we dig deeper into this topic, things will start to make sense.
What Dehydration Does to Your Body
Have you ever been out on a hot, sunny day, and suddenly you started to feel lightheaded or dizzy? I’m sure in the moment, you had a basic understanding that you were probably dehydrated. Afterall, on those hot, sticky days we are constantly reminded by the news, radio, friends and family to make sure we drink enough water.
And although you were able to pinpoint in that moment that you were dehydrated, chronic dehydration can be harder to detect. The reason is many of the symptoms of chronic dehydration could also be thought to be caused by something else.
To get a more clear picture of the symptoms I’m talking about, here’s a short list of possible side effects from chronic or low-level dehydration:
– dry skin
– fatigue and weakness
– increased body temperature
– muscle cramping
– joint pain
– darker-coloured urine
If you break this list down, you may easily attribute these symptoms to other causes. For instance, a headache could certainly be attributed to a number of things: a long day at work, a winey baby, bad lighting, or maybe you think you just get headaches some times.
Fatigue is another side effect that can be easily over looked to be caused by dehydration. Maybe, you think, you just had a long weekend, or you could be getting sick, or possibly, even worse, you’re developing cancer!
Within each one of these symptoms, we will tend to look for a more intricate, more involved explanation than the simplest explanation of all.
Why Your Body Need Proper Hydration
On the other end of the spectrum, we also easily overlook the benefits our bodies get by keeping our water intake at optimum levels. Just like most things that have to do with our health, these benefits are easy to pass by because, well, we don’t know what we don’t know.
When it comes to keeping good water-drinking habits, there are a ton of benefits that you will see instantly when you start drinking more water:
– Your joints will feel better. Water acts as a lubricant in your body. More water = more lubricant
– Your digestion improves. Water helps to move nutrients through the digestive track while also improving the breakdown and optimization of the nutrients themselves
– Your muscles ache less. Muscles are made up of approximately 75-80% water. With more water, your muscles are able to function properly.
– You eat less junk!! The more water you drink, the less sugary beverages you ingest. Also, research shows that proper water intake decreases the number of calories one takes in throughout the day. Double bonus!
As you can see, this short list of benefits can have a huge impact on the way you feel, move, and function overall.
How to Increase Your Water Intake
I know what you’re thinking, “Thanks, Jerry! I can see why staying hydrated is important. But I’m still struggling. Help me out!”.
Luckily, there are some simple tactics you to implement to keep your water levels up to bring your health to new heights. While this isn’t an extensive list, these tend to be the strategies that work best for our Pack Members:
1. DRINK 8 TO 12 OUNCES OF WATER FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
When I say first thing in the morning, I mean FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!! Not after coffee. Not after breakfast. Not after your morning grooming session.
Drinking water first thing in the morning will build up your bodies reserves for the day ahead. If you sleep 6 to 8 hours a night like you should be, that’s 6 to 8 hours of not drinking water. So, yes, your body is dehydrated to the max in the morning. Get a head start by kicking back a big glass of the clear liquid when you roll out of bed.
2. PUT FRESHLY SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE OR CUCUMBERS IN YOUR WATER
One of the complaints we often hear about drinking water is, well, it’s plain! And, if you’re like many people, you enjoy a little flavor with your water.
If this is you, an easy fix to that issue is to put freshly squeezed lemon juice in your water. For more flavor, you could also keep the lemon itself in the water bottle. Cucumber has proven to be another popular choice amongst our Pack.
The real problem behind water sweeteners is beyond the scope of this article. In short, though, many of these sweeteners still ACT like sugar in your body, even though there may not actually be sugar on the product label.
3. SET AN ALARM
Another frequent argument we hear when it comes to not drinking enough water is that you simply forget to drink! This is understandable, as it’s easy to get caught up in our work or running around or hobbies or whatever you do on a regular basis.
A simple fix to this issue is to set a water-drinking alarm. The frequency of the alarm is going to be relative you and your circumstances. For instance, maybe you need more frequent reminders to drink, so you would set an alarm to go off every 15-20 minutes. On the other hand, maybe you remember to drink sometimes but still feel like you could use the occasional kick, so you might set an alarm to go off every 45-60 minutes.
Find what frequency works for you. You could also download an app that does this for you. Some popular water drinking apps are Daily Water, Hydro Coach and Gulp.
Don’t overlook the importance of drinking water and what it can do to improve your health & fitness. Stand vigilant against your lazy elephant when it comes to your water intake. Eventually, it will become second nature to you!