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?