Your Guide to Proper Hydration

Your mom, your doctor, your teachers, your trainers, and the other guardians of your health have told you all your life to drink more fluids. You hear the advice to drink more all around you, so you know you need to drink more, but you might not know why water is so important or exactly how much you need.

The human body is composed of up to 65% water. Your brain, heart, and lungs contain an even higher percentage of water. Every system, function, and cell in your body requires water to thrive.

If you’re dehydrated even just a little bit, your health can take a serious hit. Mild dehydration lowers your blood volume, decreases concentration, causes headaches, and more. Chronic dehydration often contributes to kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways water improves your health to motivate you to drink more.

Benefits of drinking water

Your circulatory system, lymphatic system, and metabolism, just to name a few, need water to stay humming. You can practically visualize water helping every fluid and process inside your body flow.

Your body needs water for:

  • Hormone production
  • Neurotransmitter movement
  • Body temperature regulation
  • Oxygen transport in the blood
  • Blood volume regulation
  • Shock absorption and joint lubrication
  • Food digestion and metabolism
  • Waste detoxification
  • Mucous membrane lubrication

Water has a profound impact on your efforts to stay fit too, including weight loss and muscle recovery. Water keeps your metabolism moving, flushes out lactic acid, and helps keep you from overeating when you’re actually thirsty.

The unassuming substance also helps keep your body from overheating during these still-hot last days of summer.

Now that you know what water is good for, you might be wondering just how much your body needs to operate at max capacity.

How much water you need daily

An easy way to remember how much water you need is to divide your body weight in half.

So, for example, a 150lb person needs at least 75 ounces of water per day.

150/2=75 ounces

This is just the starting point, the minimum.

When it’s hot out, you’re sweating, or you’re exercising vigorously, you need to drink more than that. If you plan on working out for more than an hour straight, you might need to add a sports drink to keep your electrolytes balanced.

You’ll know if you’re getting enough water for sure by checking your urine color. Clear or lightly tinted urine indicates proper hydration while darker yellows signal mild dehydration.

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to drink water or don’t track it, we’ve got a few tips to help you get your daily quota.

Tips to help you drink more water

Get out the measuring cups

Find a nice-looking water bottle that makes you want to drink more water. Measure out and mark each cup (8 oz) of water on the side of the bottle in permanent marker. Determine how many bottle refills you need to hit your daily quota, and try to hit that goal every day.

Populate your living spaces with water

Place a full bottle of water in each of the spaces where you spend the most time. Keep one bottle at your bedside, one at your desk, one in your lunch bag, and one at the dinner table. Don’t leave the designated area until you’ve drank the water there. For example, don’t get out of bed in the morning until you’ve drank your bedside bottle.

Work your way up

You may not be able to drink 75+ ounces of water the first day you try. If 60 ounces is all you can manage on day one, try to drink 4 more ounces the next day. Keep increasing the amount in increments until you hit optimal levels. (Side note: As your body adapts to the water, you’ll start urinating less frequently too.)

Make your water more enticing

Keep a pitcher of infused water in your fridge to make your water easier to swallow. A sliced cucumber and a few sprigs of mint taste refreshing while a hit of ginger and a cut-up lemon invigorate your taste buds. Non-caffeinated tea is also another way to sneak in more water.

Hopefully this guide motivates you to drink up and feed your body what it needs for maximum health benefits. Cheers to that!

References:

Cleveland Clinic

US Geological Survey

WebMD 1 and 2