Summer is here and as the temperature goes up, your water consumption should too. However, most people admit that they struggle to get in the recommended 64 ounces a day either because they forget, don’t have time, are too busy, or just plain don’t like water. However, hydration is vital for everyone, but especially critical if you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle. Drinking enough water helps keep your hunger in check and gives you the energy to burn calories during exercise, but how to you keep yourself hydrated?
First, you should know that chugging four glasses of water in a row does not hydrate you. Imagine a very dry sponge that you turn a faucet onto at full blast. Most of the water just splashes off, not getting absorbed at all. However, if you were to drip water onto the sponge gradually and slowly, it would soak up the water sufficiently. Your body works the same way. Drinking a ton of water all at once and then thinking you’re all good really just makes you urinate most of it out and it is lost. However, if you drink your water gradually throughout the day, this is the best way to hydrate yourself.
Studies also show that about 62% of the time, we misinterpret thirst for hunger. Therefore, you may be eating more than you should just because you aren’t staying hydrated. To prevent dehydration, you want to be getting about 64 ounces of fluid a day, or 8 cups. Some fluids may not be appropriate, however. Watch out for highly sweetened coffee beverages and fluids high in added sugar such as punches and soda which aren’t as hydrating as water and cause you to consume a ton of calories very quickly. Finally, sports drinks tend to be high in added sugar and are not necessary for hydration unless you are an athlete or exert yourself in very intense physical activity for more than 90 minutes a day.
Here are tips to keep yourself nourished with some good old H2O:
1.) Keep water around you at all times. Buy a container with markings on it that will let you know how much you’re drinking throughout the day.
2.) Set an alert every few hours to remind yourself to drink water. Keep a water bottle at your desk where you can see it. Whatever it takes to keep you drinking fresh water all day and daily —do it!
3.) The best way to see if you’re hydrating yourself adequately is to look at your output. That’s right: your pee. If it looks light like lemonade, you’re probably drinking enough water. If it’s more like iced tea, watch out! You need more water.
4.) Don’t like the taste of unfiltered tap water? Try infused water by putting your water in a pitcher or other vessel with slices of your favorite fruit such as limes, oranges or strawberries for a tasty infusion. You can also try flavored sparkling water, provided there are no added sugars.