Yes, you’ve heard it before – 1,000,000 times before, in fact. You know all there is to know and you know it’s important.
So drink your water.
Hey, I study and LIVE this health and fitness stuff both personally and professionally, and even I overlook what “water is important/good for you” really means. . . including ‘forgetting’ to drink it on a consistent basis. If I do it, I’m guessing you and those you know might too.
This said, let’s get on the water drinking kick. You’ll find a suggested “water consumption protocol” below, with some additional notes for your consideration.
1. Volume: Common suggestions for volume of water intake include drinking a minimum of ½ your body weight in ounces per day . . . or aiming for a minimum of 1L of water for every 50 lbs (~23 kg) you weigh.
2. Timing: (This is not gospel. The key is to be consistent throughout the day; however, you might find this timeline and the suggested benefits useful):
- Drink water immediately upon waking to counter the dehydration resulting from the night’s sleep (moisturize those lungs!). 2-3 glasses (8-16 oz per glass) will do the trick, while also serving as an effective laxative.
- Drink before meals – ideally 30 minutes prior. Doing so enhances your ability to digest the food you consume while also helping to prevent indigestion and heartburn.
- Drink water 2.5 hours after eating to continue aiding the digestion process, while also helping the body to recover from the dehydration caused by breaking down food.
- Drink water before you exercise to accommodate for the water you’ll lose by sweating.
- Drink water every time you feel thirsty (without necessarily waiting UNTIL you’re thirsty!). Thirst is one of the FINAL signs of dehydration – usually felt well after the body is dehydrated.
*****Remember to keep drinking water ‘after’ you’re hydrated. Ironically, this is one of the hardest things to remember because, after your thirst is quenched, the thought process tends to be, “Ahhh. I’m done. I’m hydrated. I’ve arrived at satisfaction point.” Yes you have, but the body never stops running and ALWAYS needs a (salt-) watery environment in which to operate. So keep making sure the tap is full to continue flushing out the system, to keep enabling the body to create hydroelectric energy, and to enable all systems of the body to run optimally and under reduced stress.
- As we age, the thirst sensation tends to become less sensitive . . . and that can become problematic, of course, if we’re not hearing the body’s cries for water. The best solution? Get into the habit of having water with you everywhere you go . . . and drink it!
- Other common indicators of dehydration beyond “thirst” include: fatigue; feeling flushed, irritable, anxious or depressed; inability to sleep well; heavy headedness and intense cravings.
- You really do need to focus on drinking water . . . “even though the coffee, tea, soda, beer, alcohol (fill in the blank) you drink contains water . . . “ Yes, all beverages have a water component to them; however, most of those beverages dehydrate you further – actually removing more water from your system than there was in the drink you consumed! So, without even going into the detail about all the sugar and chemicals in the drinks that, are “bad for you”, just know that it’s best to drink water for hydration purposes.
- Water is truly even more important than food. Of course we need the nutrients that food provides, but without water, the food that we eat can’t even be digested and readily absorbed into the body! What’s the take home message? Drink your water! J
Batmanghelidj, F. (2003). Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life. New York, NY: Grand Central Life & Style.