Hydrate! How Water Fuels Your Health

We’ve all heard the directives: Drink eight glasses of water a day.

Some sources might recommend a little more or a little less, but the bottom line is this: We all need a lot of water every day to feel good and be as productive as possible. Why? Well, water performs a wide range of jobs for us, from helping to move nutrients through our bodies to supporting cognitive functions. As a result if you let your water levels drop too low, you’ll see a wide range of negative effects.

So, how do you stay on top of your hydration needs? Following are a few tips:

  • Drink before you’re thirsty. Athletes often say that if you wait until you’re thirsty, you’re too late. Stay ahead of your body’s water needs by drinking fluids all day long. One way to do this is to keep a glass or bottle of water in front of you all the time, and to take special care to drink up in the morning and at night.
  • Drink something tasty. Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be flavorless and boring. You can find lots of healthful flavored waters, fruit juices and more to keep your body flush with fluids. Just limit alcohol and caffeine, and don’t go heavy on added sugars.
  • Eat your water. Keeping your fluids topped off doesn’t have to mean drinking a lot. Fruits and veggies contain lots of water, and they have the added benefit of providing vitamins, nutrients and more.
  • Stay cool. Your body won’t need as much fluid if you don’t lose fluid to sweating. Avoid extreme heat and the hottest part of the day. And, meanwhile, drink plenty of fluids.
  • Dress smart. Light, loose-fitting clothes that can wick away sweat help you stay cool and, therefore, limit the amount of fluids you lose to heat.
  • Get an app. Of course, these days there are apps that can help you track your hydration. Check out your smartphone’s app store. Or, just set a timer to remind yourself to drink regularly.
  • Check yourself. If you are going to be out in the heat or exerting yourself, or if you experience illnesses that involved fever, vomiting or diarrhea, pay attention to your body and watch for signs of dehydration. A few of the most common ones include darker-than usual urine, a lack of urination, muscle cramps, fever or chills, dry mouth or skin, fast heartbeat, dizziness, confusion or drowsiness.

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