Over 60% of the human body is made up of water. With well over half our systems being comprised of this essential fluid, it should come as no surprise that drinking plenty of water is an essential aspect of maintaining overall health. Unfortunately, studies estimate that well over half (somewhere around 75%) of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. Though experts recommend that we drink eight 8-oz glasses per day (the same as two liters or half a gallon), few of us reach this mark.
As your trusted healthcare providers in Central Missouri, the team at Central Ozarks Medical Center is here to help you and your family get - and stay - healthy. This week, we're focusing on a few simple ways you can up your water intake.
1. Drink A Full Glass Of Water In The Mornings.
Since we typically don't drink very much (if anything) during the night, most of us are dehydrated by the time we get up in the morning. Counteract this by drinking a full glass of water first thing in the morning - even before breakfast.
2. Consume Fluids (Don't Just Drink Them).
The foods you eat can impact your overall hydration level. Eating wet, moist foods (such as fruits and soups) can help you stay hydrated, whereas dry foods (such as nuts and chips) can actually contribute to overall dehydration.
3. Drink Even When You're Not Thirsty.
Thirst is your body's natural indicator of dehydration - by the time you feel thirsty, you're already at least a little dehydrated. Try to remember to drink consistently throughout the day, even when you don't consciously feel thirsty.
4. Stick With Water.
Coffee, juice, and tea all include varying amounts of water that can count towards your daily totals, but it's important to recognize that these beverages contain other ingredients as well (often including sugar). Be wary of consuming unnecessary additional calories while trying to stay hydrated.
5. Drink More Around Workouts.
Regular exercise is an important part of overall health, but vigorous exercise can cause the body to lose valuable fluids. In order to reduce your chances of becoming dehydrated due to a workout, make a point to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercising.
6. Drink A Glass Of Water Before Meals.
Many people don't realize this, but thirst can frequently be mistaken for hunger. Drinking a glass of water before meals can help fill your stomach, making you less likely to overeat. Drinking a glass of water before reaching for a snack (especially a dehydrating one!) can be beneficial as well.
7. Keep A Water Bottle With You.
One of the best ways to stay hydrated is to ensure that you always have access to water so you can drink consistently throughout the day. Bring water bottles with you in the car, keep a full one at your desk, place one next to your bed at night, and anywhere else you go during the day.
8. Set A Timer.
On particularly busy days, the hours may seem to pass without you even realizing it. Before you know it, the day may be half over - and you'll have barely drunk anything! Setting an hourly timer on your watch or phone and drinking a glass of water every time it goes off can be a helpful way to help you remember to drink throughout the day.
What Other Suggestions Do You Have?
Ultimately, it doesn't matter what strategies you use to increase your water intake - what matters is that you drink a healthy amount of water every day. What other tips and techniques do you have for staying hydrated? Let us know in the comments below!
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