Staying Hydrated

By: Annie Dubois

Like many others, I struggle with making sure I drink enough water everyday. For me, it is a problem finding motivation to drink a liquid with no taste, and thus no real appeal. Although the amount of water you should drink per day varies based on weight, it’s suggested that everyone strives to drink at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day, totaling to 64 total ounces per day. And with water making up 70% of our bodies, maintaining those 64 ounces is vital to our health.

Much like myself, you may have a myriad of questions: How are we supposed to drink that much water without running to the bathroom a million times a day? How are we supposed to drink that much water in the first place, and aren’t there any other options to become hydrated, because water is so tasteless? How is achieving hydration possible? Just how awful are the effects of dehydration? Let’s start with addressing these questions from the beginning.

How are we supposed to drink that much water without frequent bathroom trips?

I often find myself questioning if staying hydrated is even worth it if I have to go to the bathroom 3 times every hour. There are a few unknown culprits that may be causing the frequent bathroom trips, such as coffee and alcohol, which are diuretics. Cutting these factors out of your diet, or reducing your use of them, can help with the bathroom struggle. Along with reducing your consumption of diuretics, it’s useful to keep in mind that when you first make the effort to increase water consumption, it’s expected that bathroom trips will be frequent. The good news is, this is only a phase. Once you get into the habit of drinking more water, your bladder will be able to handle this increased fluid intake and you will be back to your normal bathroom schedule. Hooray!

How are we supposed to drink that much water in the first place? Are there other options for those who hate the tasteless liquid?

Although consuming water directly is the best way to guarantee you stay hydrated and healthy, there are other liquids and foods that can do the job. Whenever I dread drinking water because I’m not really thirsty, I make tea. Tea not only has some added health benefits, but is a tasty and comforting way to ensure hydration. Beverages like milk (fat-free or skim), smoothies, and sports drinks are efficient in hydrating you as well. If you still find that you’re having trouble drinking enough fluids, you can turn to fruits and veggies. Watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, carrots, celery, cucumbers and tomatoes all have a water content of at least 90%, so you can rely on them too.

How is achieving hydration possible?

Making sure that you drink enough water everyday can be tough and takes a lot of mental reminders. What I’ve been trying to do is set a reminder on my phone to fill up my water bottle at the beginning of the day before I go to class, and make sure that I’m drinking steadily throughout the day. I will admit, it can be difficult to remember to drink water when you aren’t directly thirsty, which is why it takes some mental strength to remind yourself to do something seemingly small amongst all of the others priorities that crop up. For me, keeping in mind the benefits of steady hydration is a good motivator. These benefits include improved digestion, higher quality of sleep, improved mood, healthy joints and skin, and decreased fatigue. Overall, drinking enough water just makes your body happier.

Just how awful is dehydration?

Depending on how severe your dehydration is, your symptoms can either be mild or serious. A common telltale sign of early dehydration is dark colored urine and increased thirst. However, if these symptoms are ignored, dehydration can wreak havoc on your body. Some other symptoms: dizziness, headache, fatigue, and dry skin, lips, and eyes. Not enjoyable! If these symptoms continue and dehydration becomes chronic, you risk kidney stones (super painful) and constipation. Don’t let your body become uncomfortable when you can easily avoid these symptoms by drinking water! It takes some work to stay consistent, but you will thank yourself down the line.

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