Got Water?

Written by contributor Amy Thompson of Progressive Pioneer.

It seems so basic, water.  But sometimes those basic, but critically important things are the easiest to forget.  As creatures that are about 75% water, staying hydrated during the hot summer months (and dry winter months) is one of the most important things we can do to keep in tiptop shape and maintain our health and energy for the many activities that beckon.

Getting enough water into your kids is just as important, if not more so, as they are often less tuned in to the early warning signs their tiny bodies give when something is amiss.  The author of You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty! states that “waiting to get thirsty is to die prematurely and very painfully.” Yikes!  That certainly doesn’t sound pleasant.  So, how do we stay ahead of the game and keep the water flowing?

Photo by Darwin Bell

Why Our Bodies Need Water

If we wait until we become thirsty, our body fluids become concentrated and we lose the energy-generating properties of water in those dehydrated cells.  We want our bodies to have plentiful water in order to function efficiently

• Water is said to alleviate or prevent symptoms and diseases ranging from arthritis and back pain to heart disease and stroke. 

• It increases the efficiency of red blood cells in collecting oxygen in the lungs, giving you a little extra oomph in that spur-of-the-moment game of kickball with the kids. 

• It’s also necessary for the body to efficiently manufacture neurotransmitters, including serotonin, helping you to be the laid-back parent you’d like to be. 

The list goes on and on: preventing ADHD, increasing efficiency at work by expanding your attention span, reducing stress and anxiety, restoring normal sleep rhythms, etc.  We all know water is good for us, and it certainly isn’t a hard habit to get into.  The trick is just that, making it a habit.

Photo by lululemon athletica

Getting in the Water Habit

We should all be drinking upwards of half our weight in ounces of water, each day. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds, should be drinking +75 ounces of water on a daily basis.  Here are a few tips that might help keep you hydrated, healthy and happy.

  • Wherever you are, have water handy.  Keep a bottle on your desk, in your kid’s backpack, in your purse, on the counter, in the car…
  • Get yourself a good looking, stainless steel container.  I’ll admit, I’m more likely to do something that involves a cute accessory.
  • Break your large goal (X ounces in 24 hours) into smaller goals (16 ounces with breakfast, 8 mid-morning, etc.)
  • Replace other drinks with water.
  • Create an incentive.  Perhaps a pair of new shoes for every week you faithfully drink your allotted number of ounces each day until it becomes a habit.  Though, with an incentive like that it might never become a habit!
  • Use thirsty times (when you first wake up, while exercising, eating, etc.) and boring or inactive times (on the subway, watching TV, reading, etc.) to stock up on your ounces.

Photo by Sharon Mollerus

It’s especially important to help your kids get in the habit of drinking plenty of water.  You can employ some of these same tactics: keeping water handy, offering it frequently throughout the day, substituting water for other drinks etc. 

Kids may also enjoy some sort of chart to keep track of their progress.  You could get creative and have a lot of fun with this.  Drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeinated or sugary drinks is one of the best and simplest ways to keep your and your family’s health on track this summer.  Bottoms up!

Do you feel like you get enough water throughout the day? If not, why not? If so, what’s your secret?

About Amy

Amy writes daily about natural family living, attachment parenting, organic gardening, and cooking on her site, Progressive Pioneer. She and her family try to live simply and be as self-sufficient as possible while living smack dab in the middle of the city.

Comments

  1. Stephanie P says:

    Thanks for the reinforcement. I’ve been slacking on my water lately and I totally feel it! Even this weekend I was kicking myself for getting a diet soda (I know, cringe) while out with family instead of my normal (and totally FREE) water with extra lemon.

    My DH and I both have some great Klean Kanteens and I just bought my nephew a KK sippy :-) I love how durable the stainless steel is!

  2. I totally agree. Water is so important. As someone who deals with math for a living, I’m quite bothered by your statement that we should drink “half our weight in ounces of water, each day.” In math you’re really saying, 110 lbs / 2 = 55 lbs x 16 oz/lb = 880 ounces. I understand that you just want us to divide our weight by two and assign the unit as ounces, but I’m worried someone will read this and drink too much because they’re literally drinking half of their weight. I know you have an example to clarify this too…I’m just concerned.

  3. This is something I worry about all the time! Thanks for the post! My daughter LOVES milk – she always asks for milk if she’s thirsty – and milk is good for her, so how do I say no?! But especially in the summer months, I have to constantly remind her to drink water instead. I know, its a terrible dilemma, my daughter loving milk, but water is important too!

    • How about making “fancy water?” You could float frozen berries or something in it. I wouldn’t recommend adding anything to the water because it’s best for you plain, but fun straws that are “just for water,” drink umbrellas or a fancy garnish just might make it more appealing to her:)

      • I like the idea of floating frozen berries and fun straws! It would be like island princess water! My daughter would love that! Thanks!

  4. Kathryn says:

    Great tips! I find that drinking enough water makes a huge difference in my *ahem* regularity and my energy level. One great tip my OB/GYN gave me: the bigger your water bottle, the easier it will be to drink a lot. During my pregnancy, she recommended that I drink at least 3 quarts a day; so I carried a 1-quart bottle everywhere and told myself, “You only have to empty this 3 times.” It worked beautifully–I hit the 3-quart mark every day and often managed a little more. My sister-in-law, who was pregnant at the same time, had the same recommendation from her midwife. Everyone used to laugh at us when we were together–two little women with huge bellies and water bottles to match.

    • I’ve totally been using the quart-sized bottles too (in my ninth month!) and it makes it so much easier than trying to down a bazillion glasses of water. I usually keep a mason jar of water on the counter and take a swig every time I walk by:)

  5. I don’t like drinking out of aluminum. or any metal for that matter. I prefer glass but that’s not always practical or easily portable. I keep old soda bottles and fill them with water, keep them in the fridge. I really like my water chilled, if possible. when I’m finished, I throw it in the sink – wash – refill, repeat.

    I make an effort to drink at least 64 oz a day – I got your formula – one ounce for every pound doesn’t expand out to anything else – but I’m not there yet :) my son drinks water or milk or chocolate milk. he’s never been a juice drinker. especially in the summer he knows water is great to drink and often requests it. he feels all grown up getting a bottle of his own and though he sometimes spills it, or the dog does, its not as hard to clean up as other drinks so I’m okay with that.

    I always keep bottles in the car then when we go places, I can just grab one and carry it with me. I bought him a bottle holder but think it would be relatively easy to make. I’m usually the one carrying it but at least we are both drinking water and saving money not having to spend it on a drink at wherever we are. almost everytime we get in the car my son asks for a drink and will guzzle it down as we travel about.

  6. During chemo, my oncologist told me to drink lots and lots of water.
    I wasn’t a water drinker at all. After a couple of months of getting used to, i had to admit to myself if i would drink my water, the chemo woudn’t be so “hard” on me.
    Now i drink water all the time, i cutt back my soda drinking to 1 can a day and i feel great!
    Only thing i have to work on is getting one of those bottles (like in the picture) instead of buying the plastic ones all the time!

  7. I’ve heard that you drink more from a straw, and I’ve definitely found that to be the case with myself. I’ve had bad experiences with most plastic, reusable water bottles that had straws though. My kids would get a hold of them and chew up the straw and the hole where the straw came through would leak (or the kids would pull the straw out completely), not to mention all the issues with plastic/BPA. So I just recently bought a stainless steel bottle from REI. 24 oz was the biggest one they had, but it’s pretty, it’s reusable, it doesn’t leak, it has a straw, and it doesn’t have a bite valve (those make my teeth/jaw hurt). “Nathan” is the brand, and so far, so good!
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  2. [...] continuing the habit throughout the rest of my day. Read more about the health benefits of water here and [...]

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