As we’re savoring the summer months and temperatures are soaring, it becomes even more important to focus on hydration. This month, we’re exploring the importance of hydration, understanding what it means to be well-hydrated, and uncovering strategies to meet our daily fluid needs.
Water plays a vital role in the human body and is involved in nearly every bodily function. From transporting nutrients for energy and cell repair, regulating our body temperature, lubricating joints to prevent injuries, and aiding in digestion - water is the key.
Being well-hydrated means that your body has the optimal amount of fluid to carry out its essential functions efficiently. Maintaining optimal hydration means replacing the water that our bodies lose throughout the day due to sweating, breathing, and digestion. It's not just about drinking a lot of water…it’s also important to maintain a balance of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which help regulate fluid balance in our bodies.
When we are dehydrated, the body doesn’t function properly. As small as a 2% loss of body water can have noticeable effects on physical performance by reducing endurance, lowering strength, and causing us to fatigue more easily. Cognitive function also declines when we are dehydrated, which affects alertness and short-term memory. Not to mention the negative effect that dehydration has on our kidneys and cardiovascular health. Long story short - drink up to feel your best.
How much fluid should you be drinking in a day? The calculation is simple: take your body weight in pounds, divide it by 2, and voila! That’s the number of fluid ounces you should be drinking every day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you need to drink 100 ounces of fluid every day. On workout days, you need an additional 20 ounces of fluid per hour of working out. Same goes for hot days; the more you sweat, the more fluid your body needs to be fully hydrated.
Notice that when I say "fluid," I mean all fluids count to hydrate you - milk, water, juice, tea, and even coffee. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine does not dehydrate habitual coffee or tea drinkers. But do watch out for alcohol - it can dehydrate you, so balance out that glass of wine with an extra glass of water.
Here are a few quick tips to ramp up your hydration:
Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.
To make hydration more exciting, try adding a splash or juice or some fresh fruit or herbs to your water.
Make it a rule to have a beverage with every meal and snack.
For an additional hydration boost, you might consider adding electrolytes to your water once or twice a day. Electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium) help keep the fluid inside our body which leads to better hydration. Try Fluid electrolyte sticks or tablets for a tasty and easy way to boost your hydration.
You can hydrate yourself with food, too! Another reason to increase your fruit and vegetable intake - lots of produce is full of water which will help you be more hydrated. Cucumbers and watermelon are especially hydrating.
Set hydration reminders. If you're someone who forgets to drink water regularly, setting reminders on your phone or using a water tracking app can be beneficial.
Staying well-hydrated is a simple yet crucial step you can take towards maintaining good health, especially in hot weather. It might seem like a challenge at first, but with a little planning and practice, you can seamlessly incorporate hydration habits into your daily routine. Remember, drinking enough water isn't just about preventing dehydration. It's about providing your body with what it needs to function at its best. It's about feeling energized, thinking clearly, and taking care of your body. While the importance of hydration is universal, specific needs can vary from person to person. Personalized hydration needs can depend on various factors like your level of physical activity, the climate you live in, and your overall health. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you're unsure about how much fluid you should be consuming daily, or if you need help figuring out how to best incorporate hydration strategies into your unique routine. Whether you're an athlete wanting to optimize your hydration for peak performance, or simply someone aiming to improve their daily water intake, I'm here to help.
This week challenge yourself to drink half your body weight in ounces EVERYDAY, and pay attention to how your body feels. I promise you will keep this habit going!
In the world of nutrition, it can often seem like there's a lot to figure out. Know that you don't have to do it alone. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's work together to create a hydration plan that works best for you.
For more in-depth nutrition information on a range of topics, tune into my podcast RDs vs BS available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or through the website www.rdsvsbs.com. Stay informed and empowered on your journey towards improved health!