We all know the importance of drinking water to stay healthy, but are you actually hydrating properly? Here's what you need to know about helping your body actually use the water you're consuming.
Staying properly hydrated is essential for your overall health and well-being. Not only does it help keep your body functioning optimally, but drinking enough water can give you glowing skin, make your workouts more efficient, and in some cases could even help you lose weight — especially if you're switching to water from a daily soda habit.
But it's not just about how much water you're drinking, but how you're hydrating. There are certain things that can make it more difficult to stay hydrated properly, and knowing what they are is the first step towards ensuring that you get enough of the liquids your body needs. Here are a few ways to make sure you're hydrating properly:
- Drink fluids regularly throughout the day, and not just when you're thirsty. Thirst is actually a sign that your body is already dehydrated, so by the time you feel it, you may need more than just a glass of water.
- Avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee, caffeinated sodas, and energy drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic, so even though you're drinking fluids, you could be working backward.
- Drink more water when you're exercising or in hot weather. Your body needs additional fluids to replace what's lost through sweat.
Make sure you're getting your electrolytes. Especially in hot weather, you'll need to replenish your electrolytes — the salts that are necessary for proper hydration. Different fluids will provide different amounts of electrolytes, so it's important to know what your favorite beverages contain and choose wisely.
Some electrolyte options include:
- Electrolyte powders or drops that you can add to water
- Coconut water
- Natural electrolyte beverages (watch out for artificial dyes, sugar, and other questionable ingredients)
- Consider healthy flavor enhancers, so you don't get bored. A few ideas:
- Infuse your water with berries or fruit for 30 minutes to 2 hours in the refrigerator for a slightly sweet spin on plain water
- Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for a refreshing change of pace
- Add a natural sweetener to encourage yourself to sip all day long
- Mix things up with sparkling mineral water for a fun and fizzy way to stay hydrated
- Experiment until you find what works for you and stick to it.
- Don't forget that you can also get fluids from the foods you eat. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers, are over 90% water by weight! So make sure to load up on these healthy options throughout the day.
Once you start paying attention to hydration, keep a close eye on what changes you see. Is your skin clearer or more dewy? Do you feel more awake or focused? Did your workout feel a little easier? Start practicing good hydration habits now, and you'll soon be in love with how amazing your body feels.