By Cyndie Reichert, BA, RN
Do you ever wonder if you’re drinking enough water? How much water should you be drinking? What if you don’t like water? How are you supposed to get all that water in over the course of a day? Is hydration really that important?
Hydration is incredibly important to maintaining your body’s health. Proper hydration helps with energy, digestion and bathroom regularity. It can help control your blood pressure, keep your stomach lining happy, and helps with weight management. Studies suggest it may help prevent inflammatory health conditions and certain yeast and fungal infections. It also helps with your skin health and aging prevention (more on that next week!).
How much is enough?
The volume of how much you should drink varies from person to person. The average male needs about 3.5 liters of fluid a day and the average female needs about 2.5 liters. Thankfully, we get about ¼ of that goal from food and other beverages we drink through the day.
To make things easier for us to remember, someone out there devised the 8×8 rule. 8 ounces of water 8 times a day. That’s about half a gallon of water – not other beverages, water – to keep hydrated on an average day.
For me, that’s nothing, I’m a water-drinking fool. I can drink 4 liters of water a day with no issue. But I know it’s a struggle for others.
Here are eight great tips to help you reach the 8×8 goal all summer long:
- Sneak the water in. Try one glass with each meal and one glass on each break at work.
- Add sparkling water to your wine for a refreshing spritzer. Yes, that counts.
- Install water filters at home if you think tap water doesn’t taste great.
- Fancy the water up with the infusion pitchers. Infuse it with fresh fruit like lemon and lime. Or try a berry medley. How about cucumber and blackberry? Have an herb garden? Add mint, spearmint or peppermint to water on a hot day for an extra refreshing treat.
- If you work out, drink a glass of water before and after working out.
- That old saying about drinking a glass of water if you’re hungry? That’s no baloney. It’s a fact that people often confuse thirst with hunger. Next time you want a snack, try a refreshing low calorie beverage or flavored water first.
- Some fresh summer foods can help sneak fluids in. These include cucumbers, strawberries, and watermelon. Snack away!
- The easiest trick isn’t really a trick at all: carry a bottle with you. Find yourself a double-wall insulated bottle with a wide mouth for ice and a small mouth for sipping. The double-walled bottles don’t sweat and your water stays cold for hours. Carry one around with you and SIP SIP SIP throughout the day. You’ll find yourself well-hydrated and feeling fresh all summer long!
As always, please check with your physician if you are on any special diets or have any health conditions before making any significant lifestyle changes.