It is officially the summer season! Memorial Day is behind us and we are faced with the innate desire to get busy with travel, enjoy the outdoors and be more active. It’s sometimes overlooked that in warmer weather people become dehydrated more easily. While some argue that staying hydrated means consuming more liquids, there is a difference between fluids like juices and sodas and good old-fashioned H2O!
But how much water is enough? While I could solely preach in anecdotes, let me just say, there is a need to consume a zero-calorie drink. (I’m looking just at you water, in all your plain, colorless glory.) A common rule of thumb suggests that you should consume a half to one ounce of water for every pound you weigh. That number doesn’t account for the amount of fluid you expend when active. Have you ever noticed that after you’ve been outside or have done a hard workout you are a couple of pounds lighter? You didn’t lose that weight in fat. Mainly, you’ve lost water. When you exercise or are physically active you need to consume more water to make up for what you’re burning off.
If you are dehydrated, your physical and mental performance will suffer.
Another reason to drink more water is that it will help to increase satiety, or the feeling of being full. Taking in water regularly may boost your metabolism slightly, so WIN! One piece of advice I give clients who are trying to lose weight or stick to an eating plan is to drink more water because it will make them feel full. Now, if you are trying to lose weight it is important to drink the water AFTER you eat. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but you still need to consume calories for energy. Filling up with water first can sabotage that healthy diet.
Finally, drinking more water is good for your heart and blood pressure. By consuming more water, you not only reduce your resting heart rate, but you will also bring your blood pressure down. When you’re dehydrated, your heart works harder to pump the blood that has become thicker due to lack of water. Remember, our bodies are made up of nearly 60 percent water and our blood is nearly 90 percent water! We need to provide our bodies that water from somewhere.
There are many other benefits to drinking more water and I strongly encourage you to look into all the ways it increases health. Of course, there is nothing wrong with consuming other liquids like coffee, soda, juice, and even those adult beverages, but there is a downside to over consuming those drinks; they may contain a high number of empty calories. (Note that this does not really apply to zero-sugar or zero-calorie drinks.) However, the best source of fluid intake for the body is water. The body can process water efficiently and effectively to keep you healthy and hydrated.
Track the amount of water you consume daily. I bet you’d be surprised what that number looks like! I personally ingest over a gallon of water per day. So, now you have a challenge!