We dive into why water is so important, discuss factors that impact your fluid-intake needs, and share five quick tips for making hydration a breeze.
We don’t mean to put you on the hot seat, but how would you rate your hydration habits? Are you a “never leave the house without my refillable water bottle” kind of person? Do you struggle to remember the last time you ingested a liquid that wasn’t coffee? Or do you fall somewhere between these two extremes?
If this line of questioning has you sweating just a little bit, don’t worry about it. Wipe your brow, maybe take a sip of some water, then read on knowing that you aren’t alone: almost half of all American adults aren’t drinking enough water.
So what? Is being hydrated really that important?
Up to 60% of the human body is made of water, so in a sense, you literally are what you drink. The water you consume – and that comes to comprise more than half of you – helps your body out in the execution of countless extremely important processes, like:
regulating body temperature
warding off infection
facilitating nutrient delivery to cells
keeping our organs working as intended
Who needs to hydrate and how much?
Well... everyone. (Apologies to those who really dislike drinking water – even you ought to be choking some H2O down every now and then.) But not everyone’s hydration needs are alike. There are plenty of variables that factor into how much you should hydrate. For instance:
Adults tend to need more water than children.
Men should typically drink more water.
The more active you are, generally the more you’ll need to hydrate.
If you live in a hot and humid place – or at higher altitudes – you face a greater risk of dehydration.
When you’re sick – and vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or have a fever – you should increase your fluid intake.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll likely need to up your water consumption.
Guidelines exist (15.5 cups of water a day for men and 11.5 cups for women), but your body should be able to give you a sense of whether you’re on the right track. It’s hardly a glamorous system, but a simple urine check can tell you most of what you need to know: if it’s dark yellow, you can afford to drink some water!
How do I factor in fluids?
So you fall into the “everyone” camp of needing to consume water in order to live, and you even have a rough idea of how much you should be drinking. What next?
At kencko, we’re big on setting smaller, more attainable goals that we can stick to, rather than swing for the fences with a lofty health ambition that requires a complete overhaul of lifestyle to accomplish.
In terms of taking practical steps to improve daily hydration habits, here are a few suggestions for seamlessly weaving water into your existing routine:
Start and finish your day with a glass of water: before things gets too hectic, and when you’re tuckered out after all those hectic things, sip on some fluids.
Drink a glass of water with meals – even adding 8 ounces of fluids to your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners can elevate your hydration game big-time.
Keep a refillable water bottle on-hand. No need to chug 32 ounces down all in one go, but chances are if you have water nearby throughout the day, you’ll drink it.
If you keep a tight schedule – and don’t mind stuffing your calendar with a few more notifications – set a reminder or two throughout the day that simply reads “drink some water.”
Aim to eat more foods that are higher in water content.
This last suggestion is – of course – our personal favorite, because some of the most water-rich foods out there are fruits and vegetables! We know getting your recommended five daily servings of fruits and veggies can be a real challenge, but as is the case with so many other healthy habits, it checks more than one box: providing not just essential nutrients, gut-friendly fiber, and delicious flavor, but helping to meet your hydration needs as well.
So raise a glass – or an apple. To your health!