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Everything You Need to Know About Proper Hydration
Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for a healthy body! Not only does water play a role in literally every internal function in your body, but it is critical for muscle contractions, digestion, and a healthy brain. Proper hydration will ensure that your body has all the liquid it needs to keep running in tip top shape. Here’s what you need to know about hydrating properly every day:
How Much Are You Drinking?
According to surveys, the average American drinks just four glasses of water per day. Four glasses is around one liter, which is nowhere near enough! Your goal should be to drink anywhere from 2 to 5 liters of water per day, depending on your size and activity level. The bigger and more active you are, the more water you should drink.
What You’ll Notice When Properly Hydrated
Proper hydration can lead to some visible benefits in your overall body function. First off, you’ll often be less hungry. Thirst signals are often misinterpreted by your brain as hunger, so you end up eating more than you normally would in an attempt to satisfy your thirst. Drinking more water will stop this from happening and reduce your appetite. Hydration also helps your body work better, as it makes your internal transport system more effective at sending nutrients to your cells. Thanks to water, you can have a healthier balance of electrolytes, keeping your sodium levels low and providing the potassium needed for muscle contractions.
Have Water Before and After Your Workout
Drinking a glass of water a few minutes before you head off to the gym or out on your run can be the best way to ensure you’re properly hydrated. If you’re not all topped up on fluid, your body may function at less than optimum capacity, making your workout less effective. During your workout session, drink water sparingly—just a few sips to keep your mouth from getting too dry. However, once the workout is done, make sure to have a lot of fluid—both water and your regular protein shake. That will help you to tank up your fluids after an hour or so of heavy sweating.
Drink Before Eating
A lot of experts will tell you that drinking water with your meals is bad for you, as it slows down your digestion. Instead, try drinking a glass or three of water before you sit down to eat. 5 or 10 minutes before meal time, make it a point to drink a lot of water. That will make sure to satiate your body’s thirst, and with proper hydration, you’ll find your appetite and food cravings—often the result of thirst your body misinterprets as hunger—all but disappear.
Don’t Overdo It!
Yes, there is such a thing as drinking too much water! More than 5 or 6 liters per day is definitely going to count as a lot, and you’ll find that it can lead to a number of problems—not the least of which are kidney strain and excessively low sodium levels. Focus on drinking enough for proper hydration, but not overdoing it.
How to Get More Water in Your Day
Definitely make it a point to carry a water bottle, and empty it a few times every day. If you need something with flavor, try adding fruit or veggie slices, a spritz of lemon, or even coconut ice (coconut water frozen into ice cubes). Or, try eating more soups and stews, meals that have a higher water content.