Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies are made up of almost two-thirds water, making drinking water crucial to our health, which is why it’s important to avoid making these common hydration mistakes.
- I should strive for 8 cups of water a day.
One of the hydration mistakes people make is assuming hydration is a one-size-fits-all. How much water you need depends on your body’s individual needs. The Institute of Medicine recommends 11 cups (91 ounces) a day for women and 15 cups (125 ounces) a day for men. Individual factors like your size, activity and weather can affect your hydration needs. A good rule of thumb is to pay attention to your body, drink when you are thirsty and stop once you feel satisfied.
- I should avoid coffee and tea.
Many believe they should avoid their daily morning cup of coffee or tea, due to the fact that they are a diuretic. Yes, these beverages may send you to the restroom more frequently causing you to lose water through urination, but they still contain water. Therefore, you do not need to skip that morning cup of joe that gives you the jump start you need!
- I am hungry (when you really need water).
Always drink before you eat to ensure what you are feeling is truly hunger pains and not your body screaming for water. Continue eating your snacks and meals like normal but try incorporating water. Eventually drinking water while eating will become a habit and you will not think twice about doing it.
- When I feel dehydrated, I should chug water.
The human body is not designed to absorb large amounts of water at a time. Chugging water can overwhelm the kidneys and cause your cells to swell. Like everything, water should be consumed in reasonable moderation. Sip on water, do not chug it.
- I only need to hydrate during a workout.
Hydrating during a workout is important but it is even more important to drink water before and after a workout to space out your water intake. You should begin a work out hydrated to maintain focus and energy. Try drinking up 30 minutes before you hit the gym.
- I should only drink water when it is hot or I am active.
Staying hydrated keeps us alert. It is a good practice to stay hydrated throughout your day to stay energized. Sip on water while sitting at your desk or on your couch. Your body still needs water during the cooler months, so you should hydrate year-round.
- I should aim for clear urine.
While dark urine is a sign of dehydration, clear urine can be a sign you are over hydrated. I bet you did not know that over hydration exists. Well it does! It is a condition called Hyponatremia. Aim for urine with a tinge of yellow, instead of clear urine.
Water is essential to keep your body functioning. Live a happier and healthier life by not making these seven hydration mistakes!