Training and eating healthy are essential to health and fitness. But if you aren’t drinking enough water, you may be sabotaging yourself. About 75% of our bodies are made up of water alone. That should give you a sense of how important it is to drink enough of it.
When we don’t drink enough water, our bodies experience stress: our thinking may be fuzzy, we may have trouble concentrating, our vision may become unfocused and blood volume even decreases, which in turn increases our heart rate. Sometimes we may think we are hungry, but actually we are thirsty instead.
Adequate hydration also aids in weight loss. Drinking water can help to increase your metabolism. And if you are working out, you really need to keep yourself well hydrated. Not only will water give you that extra energy boost you need to push through to the end of your session, but replacing the fluid your body loses through sweat is essential for recovery. If you don’t drink enough water before, during, and after your training session, you may end up with muscle cramps, fatigue, or even dizziness.
Shockingly, it is estimated that half of the population is at least mildly dehydrated. Since clean water is readily accessible in this country, that statistic seems hard to believe. But it makes sense when you consider the fact that many people do not particularly like to drink water when there are so many other beverage choices.
We have trained our taste buds to prefer and expect sweetened beverages, and this makes drinking water more difficult - even to the point of becoming a chore for some people. A dislike of water, then, can make it hard to stay hydrated.
How Much Should You Drink?When it comes to hydration, the size of your body matters. You want to aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you are a 140 lb. female, your goal is to drink 70 ounces of water per day. Aim to drink water between meals rather than with meals. Drinking too much water with meals can negatively impact your digestion.
Climate matters too. Dry, hot climates and/or high altitudes suck fluid away from our bodies faster, therefore you may need to drink more water.
Love Your Water AgainIf you have a hard time getting in half your bodyweight in ounces per day of water, there are many ways you can sneak in more water. Adding essential oils, lemon, lime, mint, cucumber, or frozen berries to your water to give it some flavor are all good options.
Another thing to consider, is drinking your water in a safe container. No matter how careful you are to drink enough water, you could actually be harming your health if you are drinking from plastic bottles. There are dangerous chemicals that are present in those convenient plastic water bottles - chemicals such as BPA (Bisphenol A) and phthalates. When your water is stored in these containers, these toxins leach into the water and then are absorbed into your body. These chemicals have been linked to many symptoms including learning problems, diabetes, obesity, immune system alteration, cancer, and fertility problems.
A safer alternative is to use stainless steel water bottles. Not only are they better for the environment, but they do not contain the dangerous, leaching chemicals that can make you sick.
On your journey to improved health, keeping yourself hydrated is a key component of your success.