The ins and outs of hydration plus 13 tips on how to drink more water!

Written by Jared Kauffman

 One of the biggest trends in health and fitness lately has focused on hydration and water consumption. This is no surprise since the human body is anywhere from 50-60 percent water.  Water forms the base of almost every cell in the human body.  It is essential for everything that takes place in the body.  Water is especially crucial in metabolism and energy production which is potentially one of the reasons the health and fitness world has pushed it so hard.

   Not drinking enough water can have serious health consequences. Mild dehydration can cause headaches, muscles cramps, dizziness, among others. Severe dehydration can cause rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, loss of elasticity in skin, even confusion and delirium.  On top of these things, in a hot climate like Columbia, dehydration can easily lead to heat exhaustion, another dangerous situation you want to avoid.

   Drinking too much water can also have negative consequences. In the body, almost all the water is mixed with electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. The balance of these electrolytes in your cells is what is most important.  When you drink too much water without replacing the electrolytes, the electrolytes become diluted and the cells drown. While this is something that rarely happens, it is always a good idea to make sure that you are getting enough electrolytes with your water.  Adding some good quality salt, or magnesium like the one we have at the gym, to a big bottle of water will do wonders!

   So really how much water do you need? Many of you are participating in our February Hydration challenge.  The first goal of this challenge was to make the participants aware of how much they really are drinking throughout the day.  After that the goal was to use new strategies to increase the from the baseline. The standardized goal for everyone was 100 ounces.  Obviously, each person is different and has different water consumption needs.  Another number we use to recommend water intake is 1/2 of your body weight in ounces per day.  So if you weigh 150 pounds, your goal is 75 ounces per day.   With all of these recommendations, the best idea is to listen to your body.  Start to add more water or electrolytes and see how you feel. Over time work your way up.  Being properly hydrated will do great things for your health!

Here were some tips we came up with for our recent hydration challenge:

  • Take 10 big gulps everytime you grab your cup to drink some water.

  • Set milestone deadlines throughout the day, finish my first bottle by x time, second by x.

  • Earn your glass of wine with a glass or water. Before you pull out the corkscrew, fill up and drain that glass of water.

  • Don't like toting a water bottle around? Keep a separate bottle in the locations you frequent most often. Have a bottle for your house, one for your office, and an one for in transit that you use in the car, at the gym, at the movies, etc.

  • Invest in a nice water bottle that you'll actually use.

  • Class it up: Add some jazz to your water with a slice of lemon or lime or a sprig of mint.

  • Earn your morning coffee with 8-16 ounces of water. Before you can take your first sip of your coffee, you've got to finish that glass of water.

  • Make it a game: How can you incentivize your progress? For every day you hit your water intake goal, you get a point and when you accumulate 10 points you earn a ____________.

  • Pour your daily intake into a large container like an old gallon jug and use that to refill your cup.

  • Try switching it up with Seltzer water or club soda every once in a while, a can of La Croix can quickly become your mid-afternoon 12-ounch indulgence!

  • If you love apps, check out apps like Water Reminder or Water tracker. If you aren't into apps, try a 1 hour timer that you keep resetting to remind you to take a few sips of water.

  • Bottoms-up! Use a dry erase marker on your reusable water bottle and on the bottom (or somewhere you won't rub it off) tally the amount of bottles it will take to meet today's water intake. Every time you drain your bottle, mark off one notch.

  • Drink 8 ounces 20-30 minutes before each meal.

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