Hydration is so important. I'm sure you've heard this a million times but I feel so many of us neglect this aspect of our health. It can be easy to forget to drink water throughout the day but it's required for so many processes within the body!
- Moisturizing the skin
- Moving nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Regulation of body temperature
- Protecting vital organs
- Removing waste
- Cushioning and protecting joints
- Aiding in digestion
- Conversion of food to energy
- Absorption of nutrients
Neglecting water intake can drastically affect your workouts, making you feel sluggish and increasing risk of injury. So, how much water should you be drinking? Most recommendations are centered around the average, mostly sedentary, person. The minimum for the average person is ~8 cups a day, 64 oz. If you're sweating or if it's hot or humid you need to be drinking more!
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) has provided the following guidelines for hydration when you're active.
Before exercise: 16-20 ounces within 2 hours prior to working out
During exercise: 4-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes
Post exercise: Replace 24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
I don't expect you to weigh in before and after exercise but I think these recommendations really help to show how much water you really need to function at your peak.
You should be sipping on water throughout the day. If you feel thirsty, you've already entered a state of dehydration. The body only triggers "thirst" as a mechanism to get you to recognize you're in the early stages of dehydration. Don't let yourself get there!
I've found the best way for me to stay properly hydrated is by keeping a LARGE bottle of water with me at all times. I say large because the activation energy required to continually fill a smaller bottle is usually too much for most people and you'll end up neglecting your water intake. If you have a large bottle you'll have to fill it less frequently. If you're busy, like I am, you don't want to have to fill your water bottle every hour to try to stay on top of your hydration so go with a decent size bottle! I've found ~32 oz. is perfect for me! I only have to fill it 3-4 times a day which I can definitely manage. I've also discovered that I drink significantly more water when using a water bottle with a straw than one without. I'm not sure what it is about having a straw to sip on that makes me drink more but it definitely does! I know I'm not alone in this either! My water bottle of choice right now is the Trimr Duo Squared. It's 38 oz, has a high flow straw that doesn't require me to bite to drink, and...it fits in my car cupholder! Hallelujah! The outer rim of the lid also opens if you like a regular spout so you can chug! Trimr bottles are on sale until Monday with the code "TRIMGRAM" so snag one now if you need a better water bottle!
So...drink more water! You'll have more energy, your skin will look amazing, your immune system will be stronger, and you'll be less likely to get injured. Yes, you will pee all the freaking time while your body gets used to the larger volume of liquid going in, but it will adjust! And, there's something strangely satisfying about peeing almost clear. Like, "Yeah, I'm THAT hydrated." Drink all the water, pee all the time!