Staying hydrated is crucial to leading a healthy lifestyle.
Stay hydrated throughout the day by taking 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water, limiting caffeine to 400 milligrams, eating fruits, vegetables, and water-rich meals like oats. In intense heat or workouts, enhance your water with electrolytes for complete hydration.
Dehydration can cause exhaustion, low stamina, and passing out.
To help you avoid dehydration, this article explains the best ways to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Let’s dive in!How to keep yourself hydrated
Keep your body hydrated before leaving your house in these two ways.
1. Drink more water
For women, the recommended water intake is around 11 cups per day. For men, 15 cups per day. Your target water intake is 2.7-3.7 liters.
Whether you’re about to exercise or go outside for an activity, drink a cup at least half an hour before leaving.
A big mistake people make is drinking water only during activities. Instead, drink water earlier to give your body enough time to absorb the water.
The recommended water intake is around 600ml half an hour before starting an activity. If you’re planning on exercising heavily, drink at least half a liter 2-3 hours before getting started.
2. Limit Caffeine
The FDA recommends no more than 400mg (milligrams) of caffeine in a day.
The diuretic properties of coffee, and other caffeinated drinks, energizes your kidneys which increases urination. Frequent urination precedes dehydration.
3. Limit alcohol
Alcohol drains your body while also limiting your water intake. If you’re drinking over a long period of time, it’s unlikely that you’ll be drinking water as regularly as you should be.
Alcohol use is another common cause of dehydration.
Like caffeine, alcohol is also a diuretic and causes a perpetual need to urinate in those who consume it heavily.
It’s best to avoid alcohol entirely if you want to keep your hydration levels up.
However, if occasionally consuming an alcoholic beverage, make sure you fit in regular water breaks throughout the drinking session.
The best way to stay hydrated while drinking alcohol is to alternate between cocktails and water.
4. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
Eating plenty of fruits and veggies is great. But certain fruits and vegetables improve hydration.
The best, water-rich fruits are watermelon, peaches, pineapples, oranges, apples, tomatoes, and plums.
The most water-rich vegetables are lettuce, cucumbers, celery, and radish.
5. Consume water-rich meals
Start your day with oatmeal. Oats require plenty of water to be cooked, which makes oatmeal an important hydrational meal.
Other hydrating meals include soups, vegetable-based pasta, and veg-based sandwiches.
6. Add flavor to your water
Consuming high levels of water is certainly not for everyone. Although humans need to be hydrated, an aversion to the blandness of water is common.
One way to encourage drinking more water is to flavor your water. Simply add a slice of fruit to the water, or invest in the flavored Ultima Replenisher packs.
It flavors the water and adds essential electrolytes and minerals to help you hydrate even more effectively.
Another solution would be carbonated water. Sparkling water is as good for hydration as still water.
7. If it’s too hot, stay inside!
If the heat is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to avoid outdoor activity. Your thirst will be unquenchable, and dehydration is unavoidable.
If the heat is unbearable, stick to exercising indoors!
8. Dress appropriately
If it’s sunny, make sure you dress lightly. Also, avoid dark or black clothes. These will absorb heat, increase your body temperature, and dehydrate you.
On hot days, wear brightly colored and loose-fitting clothes.
9. Invest in a fancy water bottle
One way to encourage you to drink more water throughout the day is to have an attractive, reusable bottle at all times.
Save the planet while you keep yourself hydrated!
10. Invest in a fan or washcloth
A fan or a washcloth will prevent dehydration whenever your body temperature skyrockets.
Having one of these items close at hand is an excellent way to keep your temperature down, especially during exercise.
What are the signs of dehydration?
It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the common signs of dehydration to put all the tips listed above into action.
The common signs of dehydration
The most common sign of dehydration is thirst.
You may also experience dizzy spells, bouts of lightheadedness, or other body parts feeling dry, particularly your eyes.
If you’re persistently sluggish, it may also be because you are dehydrated.
Are you hungry or dehydrated?
Feeling hungry may also be a sign that you are not consuming enough water.
Sometimes feeling irritated or easily annoyed is often interpreted as being a sign of one being hungry. However, this sensitivity is usually due to a lack of bodily fluids.
Try drinking a glass of water before consuming a meal, and see if it changes your mood.
This also applies when you are feeling hungry and irritable at the same time, which is often referred to as being ‘’hangry’.’
Although it may be difficult to think straight when you’re ‘hangry’, start consuming water before hitting the snack cabinet. You may be dehydrated!
What to do if you are dehydrated
Sometimes, dehydration is unavoidable. If you notice any of the signs of dehydration, you must treat it accordingly. Here are some tips that will help you to rehydrate.
The most apparent means of rehydrating is drinking water. However, large quantities of water may not always be the most appealing thing.
Here are some water alternatives to treat dehydration!
Ice pops or frozen water
Ice pops or other frozen water-based snacks are an excellent way to rehydrate.
There are also several solid foods that are loaded with water that can help cure dehydration.
If you’re dehydrated, but don’t feel like consuming water, try a water-heavy fruit like watermelon or water-rich vegetable watercress.
This is an easy way to rehydrate. It also gives your body sufficient energy to repair itself from the lack of water.
Electrolyte drinks have macro electrolytes like sodium. Sodium helps to retain fluids, especially in an intense workout or scorching weather. That’s why athletes swear by electrolyte drinks.
Most electrolyte drinks have more than one electrolyte and added minerals.
As you shop for electrolytes, read the labels carefully.
Go for zero-sugar, zero calorie products with plant-based flavors, like our very own Ultima Replenisher hydration powder.
Problems related to dehydration
Dehydration does not only cause short-term health problems. If suffered persistently, it can lead to long-term kidney-related issues.
Let’s explore this further.
Short-term dehydration problems
Besides getting lethargic and dizzy, many short-term ailments can develop from insufficient fluid levels.
You may suffer from intense heat stroke or experience seizures.
Dehydration often causes diarrhea.
You may develop a fever that could last a few days.
Although short-term, these ailments can trigger long-term suffering. You may lose essential electrolytes, have chemical imbalances, and over-urination.
Long-term dehydration problems
If diarrhea and other illnesses are left untreated, they could induce comas and strokes. The fluids lost during these bouts of illnesses leave you susceptible to all kinds of secondary ailments and diseases.
Dehydration can directly lead to kidney failure, the development of kidney stones, or other kidney-related problems.
Is it possible to be over-hydrated?
Your kidneys cannot process a higher quantity of water than 1,000ml of water per hour. For some people, their kidneys may not even be able to reach this level of processing.
Over-hydration can be just as detrimental to your health as being dehydrated.
Your kidneys only have so much capacity, and when they are overfilled, you may experience water intoxication.
Over drinking can knock off your electrolyte balance level and cause urination problems, amongst other short-term ailments.
Overhydration can also cause severe issues that can sometimes be fatal. It has been linked to incidents of brain damage, kidney failure, and fatal comas.
For this reason, it is essential not to overdrink, even if you are working out a lot.
How to check if you are over-hydrating
A lot of the noticeable and common symptoms of overhydration are very similar to that of dehydration. They include nausea, confusion, muscle pains, and bone aches.
An easy way of checking whether you are getting the right balance of water during exercise is to weigh yourself before and after each training session while drinking the level of water you require.
If your weight is greater post-workout than pre-workout, the chances are that you’re over-hydrating.
Your water intake should never be so great that your weight increases as you work out.
Do these things to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Change your diet to include high water content fruit and vegetables, drink 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water throughout the day, and limit caffeine to only 400mg per day.
When exercising, wear appropriate clothing to avoid overheating. During hot weather, carry water in your favorite reusable bottle.
Stay vigilant of dehydration signs like dizziness, lightheadedness, dry eyes, and thirst.
Remember, your kidneys can’t take more than 1000 ml per hour. Beyond this would be overhydrating.
Photo credit: Certified Personal Trainer, Tiffany Forte @iamfitandfemale