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With summer just around the corner, it is more important than ever to adopt healthy hydration practices. We all know that we need to drink water, but how much is enough? And, what happens if we fall short? This week’s Focus Point will highlight the benefits of staying hydrated, as well as provide strategies for making sure you drink enough water all summer long!

Did you know that human beings can survive up to several weeks without food, but could live no longer than a few days without water? About 60% of your body is made up of water, so it’s no surprise that adequate water consumption is vital for optimal bodily functions.

Water…

  • Facilitates the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body;
  • Helps convert food into energy;
  • Lubricates joints and relieves joint pain;
  • Regulates body temperature;
  • Prevents kidney damage;
  • Makes up approximately 80% of the brain, 75% of muscles and 92% of blood

So, what happens when you don’t drink enough water? Dehydration can cause increased fatigue, headaches, dizziness/lightheadedness, and mental confusion. Even more, dehydration will surely affect your exercise! Research has shown that dehydration affects exercise performance, and that drinking sufficient water can actually boost performance! So, next time your trainer reminds you to drink more water – know that there’s a good reason for it!

So how much water should I drink?

It is important to remember that if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. The minimum recommended daily water intake for adults is determined by dividing your total bodyweight by two (ex. 150 lbs. = 75 oz). If this seems like a lot, start by using our “less is more” strategy. Initially, set yourself up for success by committing to drink a realistic amount, then gradually increase your consumption until you’ve met your recommended amount.

Below are a few tips to ensure you are getting enough water every day:

  • Set out the number of bottles you need to drink for the entire day. Don’t finish the day until you’ve finished all your bottles.
  • Drink a glass of water before having coffee or tea in the morning.
  • Replace high calorie beverages such as soda, juice, or alcohol with water.
  • Have water with you as you eat a meal. Finish the water before finishing the meal (it might even help you with overeating).
  • Put your water in a visible place such as your desk or car cup holder. If it’s out of sight, it’s probably out of mind.
  • Consider purchasing a larger, insulated water bottle. It will hold more water per refill, and keep it ice-cold all throughout the day!

For perhaps the first time in your life, take a few moments to assess your hydration strategy. With a little planning, you can be guaranteed to get enough of this essential nutrient. Let’s all give it our best effort this week and see what a difference it makes!