Ever feel like you’ve got about a billion different tabs and to-do lists running through your head? Not just us? Ok, good. Well we’re about to add one important reminder to your daily to-do list: stay hydrated.
It might seem silly (or overrated – or both), but staying hydrated keeps you going – literally. Sometimes, it’s only when we are properly hydrated when we realize just how dehydrated we actually were.
And hydration isn’t just a summer issue – it’s a year-round thing. From sizzling, hot beach days to work days in the (home) office, staying hydrated is the key to feeling energized, balanced, and running like a well-oiled machine.
But knowing how much hydration you need can be tricky to understand. What counts as a hydrating beverage, anyways? Good thing we’ve rounded up these thirst-quenching keys to help you understand how to stay hydrated.
Why Hydration Matters
Hydration seems like such a buzzword these days. Is it just another fad? Is proper hydration actually that important?
Humans are kinda like fish – we really need water to survive. No, not in the underwater breathing sense, but our bodies rely heavily upon our hydration levels to keep everything functioning smoothly. Just like nutrition, hydration plays an essential role in so many ways, it’s hard for us to list them all for you.
For starters, staying hydrated keeps you healthy. When our hydration levels are low, our cells have to work harder to deliver the nutrients that we need. As a result, our internal systems (like our immune system) struggle to keep up.
All of our joints and muscles also depend on good hydration. Water is kind of like the master lubricator for our joints. Water also helps our muscles repair themselves after workouts. Poor hydration doesn’t just leave you feeling thirsty, it can seriously hamper your recovery game.
Proper hydration also helps balance your mood and helps you get the deep, restful sleep that you need to recoup after your long days. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, women should drink at least 11 eight-ounce glasses of water per day. For men, the total is closer to 16 eight-ounce glasses daily. But not all beverages are created equally, so let’s explore some of the best options out there.
Rule number one of hydration – skip the sugary goods. Yes, that means the “no sugar” and “zero calorie” fizzy drinks. If it tastes sweet, then it’s not helping to hydrate you. If you wanna know the truth, studies show that these types of drinks can actually leave you feeling more parched – and more dehydrated.
You’ve probably heard it before, but we wouldn’t be doing you any favors by not reminding you – water is the one of the best hydrating beverages.
If you find yourself in a situation of extreme dehydration, like post-NYE celebration or after a long day at the beach, then you can also reach for electrolyte infused beverages. Pedialyte isn’t just for kiddos. It can be an easy fix to get you rehydrated – fast.
And while you might think that that mostly-water cup of black coffee is helping to keep you hydrated, there’s a chance that it might be working against your best efforts. In this case, it all boils down to caffeine content. Caffeine itself is a diuretic, which drives hydration out of the body by increasing your need to urine more often. Sure, you skipped the sugar, but the caffeine can suck the hydration out of you.
How to Stay Hydrated
One of the easiest ways to stay hydrated is to pace yourself throughout the day. Try starting your day out with a glass of water to get your body rehydrated after your good night’s sleep. Trust us, your body will thank you.
Need more reminders? You can set alarms on your calendar or your phone to remind you. Mark out your favorite water bottle so that you understand how often (and how much) you need to be drinking throughout the day. It doesn’t do you much good to guzzle 11 glasses of water right before bed. There’s a whole host of apps that you can download to your phone to help you keep pace throughout the day.
If you’re getting sick of water, switch it up! No, not switch it up with soda. Try adding fresh fruit – or even veggies, like cucumber slices. You can also add fresh mint, lime juice, and lemon juice to your water to give yourself a little break from the plain, ol’ predictable tap water.
Carbonated water beverages like LaCroix, Perrier, or even San Pellegrino can help kick your soda habit if you’re the kinda person that can’t stay away from those wonderfully fizzy drinks.
Staying hydrated can feel like just one more thing on your never-ending to-do list. But hopefully, these tips and tricks have helped you understand how to stay hydrated throughout your busy days.