Make Or Break Holiday Festivities by Staying Hydrated
The Fourth is nearly here, and we’ll all be spending it in our own way. Whether you’re on the Mall, at a backyard BBQ, on the beach or hiking the Appalachian Trail, there’s one thing we all need to have a happy Fourth — water.
When it comes to hydration, there are two things that we all know: 1) Water is good for us and 2) you probably don’t drink enough of it. Sure, on an average day sitting at your desk it’s easy to drink the six to eight glasses we’ve all heard about, but on an active day out and about, it can be much harder. A morning coffee, an afternoon soda or beer and a glass of wine with dinner, and you’re already in the dehydration zone.
Dehydration doesn’t have to mean crawling along the desert floor reaching for a mirage. A loss of only 1-2 percent of the body’s ideal water content can cause symptoms of dehydration — including headache, tiredness and irritability. Well doesn’t that just sound like the afternoon fatigue that hits you on a hot day? Additionally, mild dehydration can make us feel hungry when we’re not, impair neurological function and, paradoxically, make us retain water.
Focusing on proper water intake is one of the best and easiest health decisions you can make. It’s free and can solve a whole host of health problems — stubborn fat loss, urinary pain and discomfort, fatigue and headache can all disappear with the addition of extra water to your diet.
So we’ve all heard we need eight glasses daily, but is that the truth? The Institute of Medicine did the math for us and found the ideal fluid intake for adults of average height and weight is 3 liters (about 13 cups) for men, and 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of liquid a day. However, the Institute of Medicine is careful to use the term fluid — meaning that juice, tea and even coffee and soda do count toward that total, but can’t be your primary source of liquids. Additionally, if you’re overweight, in an active or hot environment, or if you’re pregnant, your need for water increases. Eight glasses is a good benchmark to follow as it’s easy to remember and isn’t too far from the truth.
I can hear the chorus now: “But…it’s water.” Personally, I love water, but I know many folks who hate the taste or find it boring. The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to rekindle your love affair with water. Serve it up sparkling in wine glasses, make up a frosty bottle with fresh mint, cucumber or lemon slices, or give it up for the red, white and blue with frozen strawberries and blueberries instead of ice cubes. This weekend, stay hydrated, stay healthy and celebrate your love for the USA and our fresh, clean water supply.
Health editor, Tini Howard is a writer, aerialist and foodie from the East Coast.