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The importance of hydration should come as no surprise to most people. If you’ve ever been on a sports team you’ve probably been told a few times to hydrate. Even on hot days the local weather man or your parent may suggest drinking extra water to stay hydrated. Your body loses water through sweat, going to the bathroom, and when you breathe it exits as vapors and it’s important to replenish that fluid to stay healthy.
Water is essential to your body’s organ function as well as digestion. It hydrates your skin, carries nutrients and oxygen through your body, and helps control blood pressure. It’s vital for life.
Water is the optimal source of hydration (coconut water works wonders as well) as compared to soda or fruit juices which are loaded with refined sugars. Eating fruits such as oranges and watermelon can also help you stay hydrated. Vegetables will also help your hydration as most of them are a high percentage of water.
As mentioned earlier, it’s especially critical to stay hydrated while being active. Sweating during sport games, during a gym exercise, or during hard labor can dehydrate your body and cause your performance to suffer. Some sport drink also sound like they may be a good idea but are, in fact, just as bad as soda and juice.
It is recommended that the average person drink at least 6 to 8 8-ounces of water a day to stay hydrated. An athlete will need more water than the average person because they’re losing the water at a faster rate through sweat.
This is not just a summer issue – dehydration can happen at any time during any season. The winter air can be dry and instead of your sweat beading on your skin, it simply evaporates. This explains why you can see your breath when it’s cold out and also why an active person might seem to be steaming after completing an activity.
Being dehydrated can mess with your mental, physical and emotional health. Numerous studies show attention, memory and mood can be damaged and physical distress such as headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue, confusion, constipation and kidney problems can result.
To help stay hydrated, we recommend keeping a reusable water bottle around you so you may fill, drink, and refill as necessary. Add lemon or cucumbers to flavor the water if you find that the taste of water is getting boring (you can add almost any fruit that you’d like). If you know you don’t drink enough water, set an alarm on you cell phone to remind you to drink more.