Nothing beats a glass of water that quenches prolonged thirst. Drinking enough fluids during summer is essential to prevent dehydration. But, staying hydrated throughout the year is important regardless of the season.
According to an article titled ‘Water, Hydration and Health’, humans can survive only a few days without water. A person can go without food for 8 to 21 days, as proven in an article titled ‘Survival time without food and drink’.
Water provides hydration. It is essential for many reasons, including regulating body temperature, preventing infections, delivering nutrients to cells and keeping organs functioning effectively.
Hydration improves sleep quality, cognition and mood. Water aids in headache relief and brain function, making an individual more responsive and quick to think.
Water is an essential nutrient we can give our bodies because it provides hydration needed for so many bodily functions. 6 to 8 glasses of water per day is ideal to prevent dehydration.
There are innumerable benefits of staying hydrated, be it for a child, adolescent, adult, sports person or old age people; every human requires hydration. So, isn’t it necessary to learn a few simple ways to stay hydrated?
12 simple ways to stay hydrated
Drinking more water every day can be tedious and repetitive. It doesn’t have to be so complicated and some simple tricks can help. Here are a few recommendations for drinking more water and staying hydrated every day.
1. Understand your fluid needs
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, gender, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
A book titled ‘Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate’ published by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends,
- 3.7 litres of fluids per day for men
- 2.7 litres of fluids per day for women
Though this is a generalised recommendation, factors like physical activity, weather, body conditions, and a person’s height and weight also determine the fluid needs.
An individual can set their own goal or get the help of a nutritionist.
2. Keep a reusable water bottle with you
Water bottles come in handy to tempt a person to take frequent sips. Reusable water bottles are safer for the environment.
Using a specific water bottle every day allows you to know accurately how much quantity it holds and goals can be set accordingly.
For example, you can have a one-litre bottle which you can fill twice or thrice daily to meet your needs of 2 or 3 litres.
The goals of drinking half a bottle by lunch or a whole bottle by evening can be set to ensure adequate water intake.
3. Set a daily goal
Goals are what keep a person motivated. So, push yourself better to set realistic goals at first. Understand your fluid needs and then set a target.
Making smaller, measurable goals throughout the day allows you to achieve your overall daily goal.
Simple steps like drinking a glass of water immediately after waking up can be a good start.
The daily goal can be achieved by drinking a glass of water every hour. The daily water quota can be easily met by the end of the day with simple efforts.
4. Set reminders
Of course, we are humans! Humans tend to be forgetful. Setting reminders can help to drink water at a specific time interval.
The most common reminder can be set for one hour. It is ideal and easy to follow. There are apps and alarms available to ease the task for you.
By setting reminders, one can easily achieve their daily goals.
5. Drink a glass of water after you wake up and before bed
Getting fluids into the body immediately after waking up assists the body in flushing out toxins in the morning.
Drinking water before bed helps keep you hydrated throughout the night and helps get rid of the toxins from the body.
Once you follow this regularly, drinking water before bed and after waking up becomes a habit.
6. Drink water before every meal
While setting reminders can be helpful, developing a habit of drinking a glass of water before each meal will make sure you reach your target easily.
Apart from the hydrating effects, drinking a glass of water before eating will make you feel fuller faster.
7. Don’t wait till you are thirsty to drink
The human body doesn’t always signify the need for hydration through thirst. When a person becomes thirsty, they are already dehydrated. So, sipping water often prevents this situation from arising.
8. Replace other drinks with water
Carbonated beverages and other flavoured drinks can be tasty, but is it a worthy substitute for water?
While many of these beverages claim to be healthy and hydrating, the benefits of plain water cannot be surpassed.
Also, the sugar intake is drastically reduced by replacing other drinks with water. Water effectively detoxifies the body, improves cognitive abilities, boosts metabolism and provides hair and skin benefits.
9. Flavour the water
Too much water can make you feel bored. Water can be made to taste better through the addition of flavours.
A few ways to add natural flavours to the water include,
- Adding fresh fruit slices,
- Making fresh fruit juices,
- Drinking it in the form of tea and
- Adding ice to soothe the throat.
10. Drink water every hour at work
To meet the daily water requirement and stay hydrated, setting an hourly reminder can be helpful.
Set a target to drink 2 litres of water during working hours. Split this into 8 hours and consume eight glasses of 250 ml of water to achieve the goal.
11. Sip throughout the day
Sipping water throughout the day is preferable to gulping a lot of water in one go. When you swallow water, it gets effectively processed and provides adequate hydration. Splitting the water requirement throughout the day prevents the feeling of thirst.
12. Eat more foods high in water
Hydration is not just drinking water but can also be through eating foods high in water. Consuming water-based fruits and vegetables provides the body with nutrients apart from their hydrating effects.
This can help increase the amount of water consumed daily. Fruits like cucumber, watermelon, muskmelon, Ice apple and vegetables like gourd vegetables contain more than 90 % water. Including them in recipes indirectly hydrates a person.
Symptoms of dehydration
When the body doesn’t get the required water, it results in dehydration. Here are some symptoms of dehydration.
Muscle cramps are the feeling of weakness in specific muscles and are often a symptom of dehydration.
When the cells don’t get enough water, electrolyte imbalance occurs and there is also decreased blood flow to these muscles, which causes cramps.
Cramps can occur while exercising or in the middle of the night through cramping in the calf muscles.
Not many of us know that dehydration causes bad breath. This is because the body doesn’t produce enough saliva during dehydration.
Bacteria tend to grow when there isn’t enough saliva to clean this out, causing bad breath.
Ensure to drink adequate water during workouts to prevent dehydration from causing bad breath.
According to the National Hydration Council, symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness account for nearly 20% of General practitioner consultations, with dehydration being the cause of one in ten of these visits.
Dehydration may induce sleep because it lowers blood pressure, reduces blood flow to the brain and makes you feel sleepy and tired.
Fever or chills
Fever is a sign of severe dehydration. When the body lacks fluids, it is difficult to maintain a normal body temperature, which can lead to hyperthermia and symptoms related to fever, such as chills.
Dehydration can appear as hunger or, mainly, cravings for sweets. It is more common during workouts.
When you exercise while dehydrated, the body uses glycogen at a faster rate, depleting your stores faster. So, your body craves sugar to provide you with a quick source of energy when all you need is to drink a little more water.
Dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva due to dehydration. Dry skin also indicates a lack of water in the skin.
Dehydration puts pressure on the heart. When you are dehydrated, the volume of blood circulating in the body is decreased. As a result, the heart beats faster, increasing the heart rate and causing palpitations.
Simple tips for proper hydration during summer
Now that we are aware of the ways to stay hydrated, let us take a quick glance at a few tips for maintaining hydration during summer.
Drinking plenty of water
Drinking water whenever possible should be the primary goal. It is best to start drinking water as soon as you wake up every morning and before bed.
Drink another glass with each meal. After working out, take the required water to hydrate yourself and drink fluids gradually throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
Regular consumption of water-based foods
The food you eat usually provides about 20 % of the water you require. Choosing water-based foods during summer helps cool down the body and keeps it hydrated.
Scrubs are used for exfoliation and these are essential for maintaining healthy, soft and hydrated skin. The primary goal of a scrub is to exfoliate dead skin, allowing your skin to absorb hydration from moisturiser.
Sipping on electrolytes
In addition to water, sports drinks have electrolytes for providing energy. They can be helpful for hydration during high-intensity exercise. Sodium and potassium are the few most common electrolytes found in beverages.
Sipping on electrolytes provides you with energy and nutrients along with hydration.
A moisturiser contains oils that help lock in moisture and keep skin hydrated even during summer.
Optimal amount of sleep
Getting a high-quality and ample duration of sleep is an integral part of avoiding dehydration.
The body goes through several processes that allow for overall health recovery during sleep, including dehydration.
Limiting the intake of caffeine
Caffeinated beverages consumed as part of a normal lifestyle do not result in fluid loss. They may have a mild diuretic effect, which means they may increase the need to urinate. But caffeine intake does not appear to increase the risk of dehydration.
Moderate consumption of caffeine-containing beverages can prevent dehydration.
Benefits of hydration
The point of why should you stay hydrated lies in the vast benefits that hydration has on the body.
Regulate body temperature
The water in the body acts as a thermoregulator, regulating the overall body temperature by dissipating heat.
When the body overheats, water is lost through sweat. When this sweat evaporates from the skin surface, it removes heat from the body, maintaining a normal temperature.
Keep joints lubricated
Water is also a component of synovial fluid which is required to help prevent joint friction.
Synovial fluid lubricates and cushions joints and cartilage, preventing bones from rubbing together.
Proper hydration can assist the skin and mucous membrane cells in acting as a barrier to keep bacteria out of the body.
It is always advisable to keep the immunity strong by drinking adequate water to prevent infections.
Staying hydrated also helps the body remove toxins and bacteria that can cause illness.
Deliver nutrients to the cell
Cells require an ample amount of water to function properly. Water is necessary for cellular homeostasis because it transports nutrients to the cells and removes waste from them.
Keep organs functioning properly
Water is a component of most organs, including the brain. 75% of the brain is made up of water.
Water is required for adequate electrolyte balance, which is essential for the body to function perfectly. Low electrolytes can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and confusion.
Adequate hydration is highly essential for the health and optimum performance of the organs. The best advice to stay hydrated is to keep a bottle of water nearby to replenish fluid levels and keep thirst at bay.
1.How much water should you drink per day?
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends
1. 3.7 litres of fluids per day for men
2. 2.7 litres of fluids per day for women
2.What is the easiest way to stay hydrated?
Drinking water is the simplest method to stay hydrated.
3.Why is hydration important?
It is vital to drink enough water every day. Drinking water can help prevent dehydration, mood swings, overeating, constipation and kidney stones. Water also maintains a normal body temperature.