The dog days of summer are nearly upon us. Get ready to sweat and forget about getting lasting curls for you straight-haired gals (like me). But, unless you’re a teacher, the workday hustle stops for no one as the temperatures creep up past comfort. As the mercury rises, it becomes more important than ever to stay hydrated.
A 2007 study found only 22 percent of American adults drink eight or more cups of water a day, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For many years, eight cups was the benchmark for healthy hydration.
These days, WebMD in particular, acknowledges all our bodies are different, with different hydration needs. Try halving your total weight in pounds. That amount, in ounces, is your new minimum recommended amount for the day. If you’re active and sweaty, you may need to go above and beyond this benchmark.
For me, that’s about 70 oz. or the equivalent of almost nine 8-oz. glasses. That’s a lot of liquid.
Don’t despair; here’s how you can increase your water intake.
Your body needs water.
Water is necessary for our bodies to function and since we let it out each day, it must be replaced each day. Water helps keep the body temperature at its normal 98.6-degree mark, protects our spinal cord, helps our organs function and helps our bodies eliminate waste and toxins via sweat and urine.
Without water we get dehydrated. The more active we are, the more we need to replace the water that gets used by our body systems and leaves as sweat.
Now that we have talked about why we need water, how can we better increase our intake and get to our daily ounce goal?
Reach your daily ounce goal by…
- Knowing how much you have to drink. Knowledge is definitely power. Knowing I have to drink four Poland Spring-sized water bottles a day sets an attainable goal. Know your ounces and know what they look like so you can keep track in your head, on paper or in your favorite nutrition app.
- Filling a bottle with your daily ounce intake and make it your business to drink it down each day. Personally, I couldn’t find a 70 oz. bottle, but I did find a 50 oz. one at
Trader Joe’s. I refilled that sucker every day for a week and I found myself blowing through my water intake. It actually went by quicker than having to refill my 16.9 oz. bottle several times. Fewer trips keep me drinking more before the end of the work day.
I have to mention this bacterial caveat when reusing “single use” water bottles. Make sure your bottles are clean and in good condition. Wash well, but not with overly hot water.
- Using those bathroom breaks as a chance to refuel. The more your drink, inevitably, the more trips you’ll need to make to the bathroom. A well-hydrated body makes pale yellow urine. After a bathroom break, take another few chugs from your water reserve. It’ll take an hour or two to make it through your system and prompt you to the bathroom again. (Think of all the leg exercise you’re getting!)
Jazzing up your hydration. Let’s be honest, plain water gets boring. Herbal, non-diuretic tea (meaning it’s caffeine-free) is a great choice for when you need some kind of flavor on your palate. Feel free to sweeten it a bit with honey, but it should refresh you, not make your thirsty. Other great choices include homemade iced teas of the same variety, but the simplest facelift you can give your glass of water is a beautiful little lemon wedge. Somehow it seems to make the water all the more thirst quenching and satisfying.
- Ordering water next time your hit the restaurant. This gem comes directly from the CDC’s guidance, which even goes so far to add it will save you money and calories as well. Tap water is free at restaurants after all, even Starbucks!
The longer you remain faithful to your hydration routine, the easier it becomes to drink that seemingly behemoth amount of water. Within two weeks of my beginning a regular water regimen, I found my body was thirsty more often and actually craving water. It was all I could do to keep up with my body’s needs!
So, go get your hydration on!