Hydration Tips for a Healthy Summer
May 6, 2019
Stay healthy and hydrated this summer with a few simple tips:
Most people – about 75 percent of Americans – are chronically dehydrated (i). Water is one of the most crucial elements of survival and now that the temperature is heating up and sweltering summer days are upon us, good hydration is critical for optimal health and an efficient workout.
If you’re dehydrated, you simply can’t perform at an optimal level – in life or in the studio! Hydration is the cornerstone of good health. Your body uses water to regulate temperature, excrete, digest, lubricate joints, and transport nutrients to stay energized. It’s also said to give your skin a healthy glow!
Beyond natural body functions, hydration is also important for stress management. A dehydrated body has higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Many people also notice an increase in sweet cravings and appetite when they’re dehydrated. It’s true – thirst is often hunger-in-disguise!
How much water you should drink depends on your weight, activity level, the altitude at which you live, or if you’re pregnant or nursing. It’s different for everyone, but as a baseline, start with half your body weight in ounces. For example, a 120 lb. woman should start with 60 ounces of water. Add 10 ounces more daily if you exercise.
One complaint that I often hear is, “I don’t like the taste of water” or “I know I need to drink more water, but I forget to do it.” If this sounds familiar, try a few of these simple tricks:
- Find something from which you enjoy drinking (like your favorite Bar Method water bottle) and keep it with you at all times – on your desk, in your gym bag, in your car and of course bring it to every Bar Method class! Know how many times you need to re-fill it throughout the day to hit our water goal.
- Infuse plain water with fruit or citrus. Try grapefruit and mint, lemon, lime and cucumber or strawberries and basil.
- Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to drink an 8-ounce glass of water at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Track your water intake in an app like Aqua or My Water Balance, which makes it fun to reach your daily water goal!
- Hydrate before, during and after every workout. Hydration prevents fatigue and optimizes energy levels during exercise. Drink at regular intervals and stick to water for most workouts as sports drinks can pack too much sugar ounce for ounce.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with getting started to drink more water, first start by tracking your water for a few days to learn how much you’re actually drinking vs. how much you truly need. Then, start adding it in slowly. Start with eight additional ounces and every few days add eight ounces more until you reach your personal goal and it becomes a habit.
Once you start increasing your water intake, be sure to drink most of it in the morning and early afternoon as drinking too late in the day could keep you up all night visiting the bathroom, which interferes with productive sleep.
Herbal teas, coconut water and water-dense fruit and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers and celery are also very hydrating and can be used to supplement your water intake. However, nothing takes the place of pure, fresh water. The more you drink it, the more you’ll grow to love it!
(i) Survey of 3003 Americans, Nutrition Information Center, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center
About the Author
Marissa Vicario McFarland is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Bar Method Instructor in New York City. Her group nutrition program, Bar Fuel: How to Eat for Energy and Focus at The Bar, starts Monday, May 13. The 4-week online program is exclusively for Bar Method clients and offers the support and accountability you need to transform your body and power your workout. Click here to learn more and join!