Drinking water. It’s not a new concept and you know you have to do it consistently. Yet, why do we struggle with staying hydrated and drinking enough in a day?
When we don’t have enough water, we can find ourselves getting crabbier, with less energy, not thinking clearly, and potentially getting stuck with a headache.
So, instead of trying to remember if you were on glass four or seven out of eight, you will know you are hydrated if you don’t feel thirsty, but also that your urine is clear or a pale yellow.
How to stay hydrated:
Eat more fruits and veggies.
Cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, watermelon, blueberries, oranges, and apples all contain large amounts of water. Save for the dried choices, most fruits and vegetables are great for boosting hydration- the juicier the better!
Drinking more fluids, regardless of what they are.
Water can be boring, but milk and juice can bring your overall hydration levels up! Try infused water or herbal tea if you want a bit of flavour. Even caffeinated beverages like green tea or coffee can be good, but keep in mind that they are diuretics and often come with a lot of sugar, so drink in moderation!
Have a glass of water before a meal.
Not only does this keep you feeling great, but it also boosts your metabolism and reduces your appetite, so you don’t feel like you need to eat as much!
Before, during, and after exercising, stay hydrated!
Water helps to keep your joints lubricated and moving well, but also helps to replace lost fluids from sweating.
What are the effects of being dehydrated?
- Low energy
- An injury like heatstroke or heat cramps
- Brain swelling
- Hypovolemic shock
- Kidney or another organ failure
- Death, in some cases
Learn what the risks of dehydration are so that you can recognize the early signs and work to prevent them!
Benefits of staying hydrated.
There are many reasons why you should make staying hydrated one of your focuses. Here are some of the top benefits!
Water acts as a cushion around your brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues. This keeps them safe from damage, like your brain hitting your skull. It also improves cognitive function, allowing you to think smarter and faster.
While food is more commonly touted as a key to stable moods, water plays a role, too! When you’re dehydrated, you can become prone to mood swings and can become crabby. Since your brain isn’t functioning as efficiently as it should, you may have a hard time processing information and that can make you irritable.
Water keeps your internal functions functioning.
Water helps to flush bacteria out of your body and helps to normalize your blood pressure. It improves digestion and allows your body to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. Your body uses water to help regulate your temperature, too.
Your kidneys rely on proper hydration to keep running smoothly. They filter all the water you consume, determining when you need to excrete the excess or to have another glass. When your kidneys don’t receive enough water, they can form painful kidney stones or begin to shut down.
Staying hydrated keeps your skin looking great!
If you ever leave your skin exposed in winter, you may notice it becoming dry and cracked. This happens when your body loses moisture to the cold air. To help to prevent this, consume a lot of water when your skin starts feeling dry. Even when it’s not dry outside, staying hydrated will keep your skin healthy and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
When babies are born, they are about 75% water! By age 1, though, they normally drop down to about 65%. (For context, adults are typically made up of 50-60% water.)
The importance of staying hydrated for people with diabetes.
When you become dehydrated if you have diabetes, it can lead to spikes in blood sugar. This happens because there isn’t enough water in your blood vessels, dropping blood pressure and increasing blood sugar levels. Your kidneys have to work harder to filter the toxins out of your body, which results in needing more water to replace the loss.
If you want to learn about how to physically take care of your body with diabetes, check out our post talking about using stretching as an exercise for diabetics!
Stretching and hydration.
While it’s important to drink enough liquids, regardless of the type of physical activity, drinking water with stretching helps to improve circulation. Water is necessary to absorb nutrients and stabilize blood pressure. Stretching helps water do its job efficiently by encouraging blood flow through areas of concern.
Check out our blog post about how to form a stretching habit to get started!
Drinking sports drinks
(Fun fact: Gatorade was created by the University of Florida to help improve the performance of their sports team, the Gators!)
Gatorade was created to replace the water and electrolytes lost during high-intensity activities, as well as to boost your energy with additional sugars. While these drinks aren’t the best if you aren’t exercising, they should be used when you are doing a long, high-intensity workout, doing hard labour in the hot sun, or if you are sick and unable to keep food down.
If you want to make your own sports drink, learn more about them and find an easy recipe for them here!
Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Look for little ways to include more water and liquid in your daily life to feel your best!
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This article is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns.
Written by Kayla Willsey
Updated June 8, 2021.