For most healthy people, severe dehydration is quite unlikely.
Unless you’re regularly running outside in the summer heat, or have a job that requires you to work outside, and you don’t have enough water. But these are still not applicable to the majority of people.
But even mild dehydration can be quite unpleasant. Your energy levels might be low, you might feel irritable, and you might experience skin irritation, among other symptoms.
But dehydration is relatively easily avoided, even if you’re an athlete that trains outside in the summer, or you have to spend extended periods outside for your job.
Here are five actionable tips to optimize your hydration.
Know How Much Water You Need
Ok, this one is pretty obvious. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
But what is plenty of water? According to the Mayo Clinic, you should be drinking around 3-4 liters of water each day.
That’s the recommendation for regular people with moderate heat exposure and sweating from activities.
If you’re an athlete training hard, or you’re frequently sweating excessively, then your water requirements might be slightly greater.
It’s vital to know how much water you need each day. If you have a target, then you can plan your hydration accordingly, and we’ll cover how to do that in the next few tips.
Don’t Forget About Electrolytes
Electrolytes and minerals are a key aspect of hydration. If you’ve experienced cramping or a charlie horse during exercise, one of the contributing factors could be an electrolyte imbalance.
Minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium are vital for hundreds of biological functions within the body, including muscle contraction and energy production.
Besides a whole host of health issues that could arise from an electrolyte imbalance, optimizing for proper mineral levels is very important for athletic performance.
Another function of electrolytes is that they prevent your kidneys from flushing too much water and getting dehydration.
When you sweat a lot, you lose electrolytes and minerals. And only drinking water isn’t enough to replenish these minerals and electrolytes.
Along with eating a diet rich in minerals through fruits, vegetables, and protein, you can go one step further and take a clean electrolyte powder like Nakedade from Naked Nutrition.
Create a (Casual) Hydration Routine
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t drink enough water is that they simply forget.
You already know that you should drink enough water. But your days are busy, and as you’re going a million miles an hour, sometimes stopping to take a few sips of water isn’t on the top of your to-do list.
The simple way to fix this issue is to create a loose hydration routine. Maybe you drink a few large glasses of water first thing in the water. Then again before/during exercise, you drink another bottle.
And if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as we’ll cover below, you’ll get about 20% of your daily water from your diet.
If you’re the type of person that works best with tracking and having systems for your habits then you can consider going one step further and downloading an app like the Water Reminder app.
It lets you customize your water intake in the best way that fits your lifestyle.
Invest in a Water Bottle
The next tip that makes it easy to track your water intake is to invest in a water bottle.
You can have some fun with it too. There are many high quality options available for you to choose one that matches your style, your bag, training gear, and so on.
You can even go a bit extreme and splurge on a smart water bottle (yes, that’s a thing) like this one from Apple.
It will remind you to drink water, track your consumption, and integrate that information with the rest of your wellness metrics.
If you don’t feel like going that far, just get a regular water bottle. Get one that you can always carry with you, whether at the gym, at work, or just out and about.
You will always have access to water, and you’ll also always know exactly how much you’ve drank on the day, and how much more you need.
Plus, using reusable bottles is better for the environment as it cuts down on waste from plastic bottles. And most likely, it is also better for your own health because you can choose bottles made from high quality material, free from BPA, etc.
Eat Foods That Hydrate
Finally, as we mentioned above, ideally around 20% of your water intake will come from food.
There’s no need to overthink this step. As a general rule, junk food will dehydrate you further, as will alcohol.
Nutritious foods will provide your body with minerals, vitamins, and sometimes even water, all of which contribute to optimal hydration.
A few foods that are high up on the hydration list are watermelon, berries, cantaloupe, peach, cucumber, and lettuce.
When you eat a watermelon, it’s pretty obvious that you’re getting some water. As is the case with a cucumber. So, feel free to use your judgment here.
Remember that you also get water from beverages like black/green tea, and black coffee. Although these drinks should not make up a large portion of your water intake, the point is that all of it adds up if you eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
Hydration is vital, especially during the summer months when we are more likely to sweat a lot. The question is, how do you make it a habit and consistently drink enough water?
Follow the tips outlined above to increase your daily water intake and maintain optimal hydration.
Download the app, get a water bottle, create a routine, and if you’re someone that sweats a lot, then add an electrolyte supplement to your routine.