As you continue in your journey towards a healthier lifestyle, you must not only focus on proper nutrition through the foods you eat, but also proper hydration in the beverages you consume. While the easy to remember rule of thumb is to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of hydrating fluids each day, you must also remember that everyone’s body is different. Depending on your gender, height, weight, and level of physical fitness, you may require more hydration.
5 Signs That You May Be Dehydrated
A common misconception is that dehydration is something that always results in the need for medical attention. However, your body may be trying to tell you that it is not receiving adequate hydration through the 5 signs below:
- Dry Lips and Skin
- Muscle Cramps
- Bad Breath
- Dark Yellow Urine
The next time you experience the symptoms above, increase your daily hydrations to see if they improve.
What Foods And Beverages Are The Most Hydrating?
What is important to remember is that just because you can drink something, it does not mean it is adequately hydrating. For example, if your beverages of choice are primarily soda, flavored coffee, or other sugar-filled beverages—then it is unlikely that you are adequately hydrated. Water is always an excellent choice when speaking in terms of hydration. However you may be looking for more ways to hydrate other than plain water. To take your water to the next level, consider mixing it with fresh fruit, such as squeezing in a bit of your favorite citrus fruits to add in some electrolytes—or mixing in 1 to 2 cups of your favorite fresh or frozen berries to a 1 gallon pitcher of water for a hydrating and antioxidant-filled beverage. Also, turn to the foods and beverages below to increase hydration:
- Herbal Teas
- Coconut Water
- Electrolyte-Filled Sports Drinks
- Fresh Squeezed Juices
- Fresh Fruit and Veggie Smoothies
- All Fruits and Veggies
When Should You Hydrate
Ideally, you want to spread your hydration out fairly evenly throughout the day, then cut back a bit on hydration a couple of hours prior to bedtime, so that your sleep will not be interrupted by trips to the restroom. This is not to say that you can’t drink anything prior to bedtime, just that you should limit evening hydration. While spreading hydration out fairly evenly throughout the day is optimal, there are a few times you want to consciously focus on hydration:
- Aim to drink at least 16 ounces of fluid as soon as you wake up each morning.
- Drink a minimum of 16 ounces of hydrating fluids at least 4 hours prior to working out.
- Aim to drink 3 to 5 ounces of hydrating fluids every 20 minutes during your workout.
- Drink a minimum of 16 ounces of hydrating fluids shortly after your workout.
- Increase hydration when in hot temperatures—such as hot summer weather, or when in a steam room or sauna.
To make hydration easy, carry refillable water bottles with you—and keep them at work, in your car, and of course in your gym bag too.