Did you know that a majority of people are living their days in a dehydrated state?
Dehydration is defined as "loss or removal of water."
For this discussion, I would specify that it's loss or removal of water from the body. And when you Google dehydration, some symptoms that come up include thirst, fatigue, dizziness, dark urine, and dry skin. But did you know that by the time these symptoms are noticeable, you're already dehydrated?
Water is the vital, life sustaining substance that makes human life on Earth possible AND creates the best functioning internal environment inside our bodies. Water composes the various highways, railways, and airways on which material within our bodies transit and are transported. In science-speak, water is the universal solvent while the nutrients, cells, and signals within our bodies are solutes on-the-move. When we haven't consumed adequate amounts of water for this internal movement and signaling, pathways become disturbed. In everyday-human speak, it's similar to how in a snowstorm, cars move slower on the roads. The same thing happens in your body; everything slows down when there's even a slight reduction of water level.
So, what does that mean for you? It's likely that adding water throughout your day will benefit your health, well-being, and eMpower your daily movement. Water is a main component of joint lubricant (like a natural WD-40!), a key shock absorber for the nervous system, and a regulator of body temperature. Who wouldn't want a little extra cushion and temperature regulation?
Not only that, the first signals of slight pain you might feel are likely cues that you need more water. As Dr. Batmanghelidj describes in his book Your Body's Many Cries for Water, poor water status causes our water regulators to become overly active. Histamine, one of these water regulators, is also a signaler for pain (slight pain and others). Making the shift to recognizing these slight pains as a call from your body for more water will make huge changes in how you feel and to your energy levels throughout the day.
So then, we can say that
Hydration is absorption or addition of water to the body.
Now, how can you figure out the best amount of water for you on a daily basis? Well, there are a few different ways to think about it.
My first suggestion is to aim for more than you think you need - at least at first.
My next suggestion comes straight from Dr. Batmanghelidj's book, and he recommends 2 liters of water daily. So you know those big 2 liter bottles in the soda aisle at the grocery store? Yes, at least one of those daily (filled with water, not soda). 2 liters of water is equivalent to 67.628 ounces. As a kid, I was taught that eight, 8-oz glasses of water daily was adequate (total 64oz), so it's not too far off.
Another suggestion for you, and likely applicable to dancers, athletes, and daily movers out there is to divide your body weight (in pounds) in half and aim for that number of ounces daily.
Ex) I weight 140 pounds, so that would be 70 ounces of water daily. A little more than my 2 liter suggestion, and more applicable to my active, sweaty lifestyle.
I know, I know; you think this is a lot of water to drink daily and that you'll be running to the bathroom every 15 minutes? You actually might be surprised! If you are running to the bathroom this often, it's likely that you're plenty hydrated because you urinate out what your body can't absorb. If you're not drinking much water and still running to the bathroom every 15 minutes, I suggest that you make an appointment with your doctor because it could indicate you have a water absorption and retention issue that needs to be addressed.
So, how do you do it?
Drinking 67+ ounces of water can actually be pretty easy. I've found it's helpful to have a 32 ounce water bottle that I drink and refill a few times each day.
Bored of plain water? Me too! Feel free to experiment with infused water and play around with the flavors that you like!
Here are some of my favorites: (in combination or individually)
* cucumber + mint
* lemon + lime
Interested in adding some electrolytes to ensure you're absorbing water and to support your nerve and muscle signals? Add 1-2 tsp of iodized salt (pink Himalayan is my favorite but Morton is also good!) to your water. Sounds crazy, but trust me, it's really good and works as a homemade sports drink without the unnecessary chemicals and additives.
My final point I'll leave you with is
nothing beats plain ol' water for hydration.
We may have been told that juices, coffee, tea, sodas, etc. can replace water consumption, and that's just not true. These beverages are, more often than not, diuretics, making you urinate the liquid before it's had a chance to be absorbed for your body to use. Go ahead and consume these beverages (just not the sodas) in addition to your 67+ ounces of water daily. With adequate daily water consumption, you might actually find that you stop having cravings for some of these other drinks.
Water makes up the internal environment in which our body functions best.
Aim for at least 67 ounces of water daily.
Don't replace these ounces of water with other beverages.
Play around with flavors and make your own infused sports drink at home.
Batmanghelidj F. Your Body's Many Cries for Water. 3rd Edition. USA; Global Health Solutions, Inc.; 2008.
Scioscia M. Eat Right Dance Right. New York, NY: Cinch Nutrition, LLC; 2018.