You may think, “Yah, yah…stay hydrated… I know.” We take for granted how powerful and essential water is to the body. Let me lay out some of the critical functions for which the body uses water:
- Bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Removing waste products, free radicals and toxins
- Cushioning bones
- Lubricating joints
- Maintaining your basal metabolic rate
- Cell’s electrical conductivity
- Growing and repairing cells and tissues
- Regulating body temperature
- Maintain DNA structure and function
- Supporting the immune system and digestive processes
And so much more! When fully hydrated our bodies are 60% to 80% water. However, we lose water throughout the day via evaporation, perspiration (even if you’re not exercising, but especially when you are), and waste removal. This water must be replaced every day or else the body’s functions are immediately affected. My general recommendation to clients is to maintain hydration by drinking half your body weight in ounces each day. As with everything, listen to your body to know if you need more or less. You may need to drink more if you’re more active or working outside. You may need to drink less if your diet is high in fresh veggies and fruit, which naturally contain water.
Now, when I make the suggestion of increasing water consumption to a client I often hear, “Oh, I am hydrated. I’m always drinking something.” Ah-hem…consuming fluid is NOT the same thing as water. Let me get a little into the science. Water must pass through tiny “gates” called aquaporins in order to hydrate cells. Water molecules are what we call “sticky” in that other molecules easily connect to them, i.e. the chemical flavors, sweeteners and other toxins in soda and other drinks. Water molecules with other molecules “stuck” on them can’t pass through the aquaporins and therefore do not hydrate cells. In case I need to say it directly, drinking Diet Coke (or insert anything other than water) does not mean you are hydrated.
Here’s your healthy habit challenge: Drink more water… pure water. Here are ways to help you make that happen:
- Calculate how much water your body needs based on your weight… half your weight in ounces. Example: 150 lbs. = 75 oz. of water.
- Drink 16 ounces of water immediately after waking to get the body’s systems working.
- Start replacing your other beverages with water. The more water you add into your day, the less soda, coffee, etc. you will want.
- Flavor your water naturally with lemons, limes, oranges, cucumber, or berries and mint leaves.
- Drink as pure and clean water as possible. Tap water is better than no water. Filtered water is preferable. Save both your wallet and the environment by using filters on your tap or in pitchers versus bottles of water.
That’s your healthy habit assignment for this month. Drink more water! As always, I encourage you to journal throughout the month about the small changes you make and the big shifts you feel.