We all know drinking enough water is an important part of healthy living, beyond just quenching a thirst. But drinking the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses a day to reap the benefits? That’s difficult, not to mention cumbersome, especially when you’re just not that thirsty.
Thankfully, recent studies have suggested that drinking 2 L of water a day to stay healthy is an old wives tale that originated in the 1940’s and then again in the 70’s. And studies (of these studies) have suggested that scientists back then neglected to tell us that we can get our daily quota from many of the fruits and vegetables we eat and all the other beverages (soda and other high sugary drinks don’t count) we consume on a daily basis. Phew.
Eight glasses aside, in reality, if you do work out, need an energy boost, or feel a little sluggish, water can help you increase your basal metabolic rate. And going for the water instead of a caffeinated drink could actually make a huge difference in how you feel.
More than 60% of our bodies are made up of water. So being a little dehydrated can impair overall performance (concentration, memory and critical thinking), cause headaches / migraines and wreak havoc on moods. Yes. Moods. And we all know what that’s like. For ourselves and everyone else around us. Drinking water can help alleviate tension and get you out of that funk. Apart from those moods, mild dehydration can contribute to fatigue (nap time needed), sleepless nights, and increased feelings of anxiety.
Not sure if your body needs water when you’re not thirsty? Well, it’s easy to tell. Dark urine, mild headache and/or dry mouth could spell mild dehydration. And if you’re already dehydrated and working up a sweat, you might experience a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, irritability, listlessness, very dark yellow urine, or failure to pass urine. Severe dehydration can cause heart attacks and strokes, among other serious health problems.
Bottom line is, don’t wait til you’re thirsty to drink water (at this point, you’re probably long overdue).
Here’s what you can do if you’re not always in the mood to drink water:
1. Invest in a good looking water bottle. Keep it with you at the office, while traveling, near your bed or at the gym. Sip throughout the day and if you make it a habit, it’s easy to adapt. It’s not an easy task, but with commitment, discipline, and focus, you can make it. Remember, it takes six weeks to form a habit.
2. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, jazz it up with oranges, apples, cucumber, lemons, or handfuls of strawberries and mint. Frozen fruit works just as well too!
3. Drink herbal/ non-caffeinated tea or coconut water. If at all you don’t want any of these options, eat foods with a high water content, e.g., cantaloupe, watermelons, peaches, and strawberries.
4. Download the water App. This app helps you keep track of your daily water consumption and sends you reminders to keep the water flowing. Much like the Fitbit…accountability helps, right?
5. Buy a crazy straw. It can be fun and help motivate you to drink more water throughout the day.
Regardless of your age or the physical activities you engage in, you should stay hydrated. Experiment. The next time you’re feeling a little cranky for no reason at all…..reach for some water. and see if that makes a difference in your overall mood.