Water Intake: Why, How Much, and Strategies to Increase Consumption.
Dihydrogen Monoxide. Over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by this element, yet studies show that much of our population is chronically lacking in it. It is an important component to our survival and health. It actually helps form our bodies, accounting for nearly half our weight. It goes by a more common name: Water.
It is easy to underestimate the importance of adequate water intake.
Water controls temperature in the body, protects joints, the spinal
cord and other tissues by providing lubrication and cushioning, aides
in digestion, and acts as a medium for countless metabolic reactions.
When dehydrated, many uncomfortable symptoms occur.
Precision Nutrition, one of the leading nutrition coaching programs, states that
dehydration can lead to dry skin, fatigue, weakness, muscle cramping,
nausea, and many other unpleasant symptoms.
Studies show that many people do not drink enough water. In 2013,
the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that 43 percent of adults
drink less than four cups of water per day. This included the 7
percent of American adults who drink no water at all. How is this
number so high? Well, one reason is that it often isn’t until we are thirsty that we seek a drink. According to Precision Nutrition, thirst can be a poor indicator of hydration status as it may not occur until 1-2% of body weight is lost in water. The increased consumption of sugary beverages and coffee also play a large roll in dehydration, as they tend to replace water at meals and throughout the day. During exercise, the need for water consumption increases even more.
There are many different recommendations about how much water is needed for men and women throughout the day, but the general consensus is 2 liters (8 cups) of water. If the weather is warm or exercise is performed, then that number should increase. A good indication of your hydration status is the color of your urine. Pale yellow to clear indicates you are doing well, while any darker means you should go grab a glass of water!
Here are some strategies to help you stay hydrated and to spice up your water intake! Invest in a water bottle and keep it with you at all times.
Try adding fruit (grapefruit, lemon, lime, strawberries), veggies (cucumber, ginger), or herbs (mint, lavender, basil) to your water bottles.
Keep a gallon jug nearby and try to finish it by the end of the day.
Pick a common daily activity, such as going to the bathroom or walking into the kitchen, and create a habit of filling up a cup each time.
Try out an app to track how many cups of water you drink throughout the day and set goals to meet. They have even developed a high tech water bottle (HidrateMe) that can sense and track how much water you have consumed, connects the information to your phone, and even lights up when it’s time for another drink.
Leave a pitcher of water out on the counter and try to finish it by the end of the day. Having it out in the open will remind you to drink whenever you pass it.
With these simple strategies, and a bit of good-old-fashioned discipline, you can become a hydration Jedi and never lack in dihydrogen monoxide again!
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