One of the things that my patients ask the most is:
“What can I do on my own to keep a balanced body?”
In my view, there are four key Lifestyle Medicine Pillars that everyone needs to pay attention to in order to keep themselves in the best possible health:
Proper hydration is an easy first step on the road to a balanced body, but there’s a lot of conflicting information about how to do this out there.
Read on to learn about how and why simply drinking more water can support your health.
Have you ever been going about a normal day, just carrying on, and then realized you have a mild headache?
If so, the cause could be mild dehydration which, according to the Mayo Clinic, can lead to fatigue and pain.
We lose water through sweat, and children and the elderly are more prone to dehydration than other age categories.
Some other symptoms of mild dehydration include a dry mouth, dry eyes, and dark urine.
When you drink the right amount of water you have the best chance of maintaining a balanced body on both a short term and long term basis.
About Those Electrolytes…
Part of maintaining a balanced body through proper hydration is ensuring that your electrolytes are in balance.
Sports drink companies might try to convince you that replenishing electrolytes requires buying them, but this is simply not true.
Electrolytes are minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which are available in whole plant-based fruits and vegetables like spinach, avocados, and watermelon.
Coconut water is an example of a natural food that is great for replenishing electrolytes since it’s loaded with potassium.
So you can definitely skip those sports drinks and choose healthy foods and drinks all year long, stay hydrated and keep your entire body in balance.
What are the benefits of proper hydration?
If you’ve ever had a marathon cardio session and forgotten your water or experienced a hangover from a few too many drinks, you probably already have a sense of what it feels like to be dehydrated
Without enough water, your mouth is dry, your head feels a bit light, and maybe you’re feeling some extra aches and pains.
Proper hydration, on the other hand, brings the benefits of:
- Lubricated joints for ease of movement
- Healthier tissues
- Fewer infections
- More efficient transport of nutrients to cells
- Better brain function
So if you are looking to achieve a balanced body, hydration is a good place to start!
How much water should you drink?
Have you ever wondered how much water you need to drink each day to keep your system functioning well?
You might be surprised to find that drinking more than eight glasses a day is a good idea.
A balanced body depends on the right amount of water, but also nutrients.
This will differ in accordance with various factors, including your body weight and activity levels.
And you might be surprised that drinking more than the standard eight glasses (64 ounces) a day is a good idea.
In fact, a good goal is to halve your body weight, then drink that in ounces. So for example, a 150-pound person would try to drink 75 oz, a 180-pound person would aim to drink 90 oz, and so on.
If you are eating a lot of vegetables with a lot of water — for instance, cucumbers and tomatoes — or simply eating food like soup, you don’t have to worry about getting the above amount.
But in any scenario where you find you’re sweating a lot, sticking to the above amount, and ensuring your electrolytes are replaced, is definitely important.
What’s the best time of day to get your water in?
If you are already in the habit of sipping water throughout the day, that’s great — keep it up!
But if you tend to chuck a glass or two towards the end of the day, you probably have had the experience of a poor night’s sleep because of at least one bathroom visit.
A good plan is to drink a third of your required water amount first thing in the morning, before any other food or beverage.
Then sip the rest of your required ounces through the rest of the day, tapering off towards the evening.
Do remember that extra water during and after any strenuous cardio activity is crucial.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Water
Try this challenge:
- Calculate your daily required amount (halve your body weight, then convert the number to ounces).
- Grab a large water bottle or glass you can reuse throughout the day.
- Determine how many times you must refill this each day to meet your goal.
- For three days, drink only from this container. Track your progress, and remember that coffee, black tea, green tea, white tea, soda, and sugary beverages don’t count.
There are plenty of apps out there that will help you to track your progress and send reminders throughout the day.
Bear in mind that soda, juice, coffee, green tea, black tea, white tea, and alcoholic beverages do not adequately contribute to hydration.
Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:
This article was published in 2019, but has been updated in May 2020, just for you!