Everyone knows water is good for you. We’ve been told to drink eight glasses of water a day for as long as I can remember. What most people don’t understand however, is just how important water is. Nothing we put into our mouths is more important.
Water helps to regulate our body temperature, helping us stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It helps moisten your eyes, nose and mouth, and water keeps joints lubricated. Water helps provide shock-absorption in your joints. In fact, long-term dehydration can lead to joint pain. When we drink enough water, it lessens the burden on our kidneys and liver, and it protects our organs and tissues. Nearly every major system within our body relies on water. Did you know that dehydration also can affect balance and increase risks of falls?
And, if those aren’t enough reasons to cause you to drink more, consider this: Drinking water can help prevent wrinkles and give your skin a healthier, younger glow.
When I’m working with elderly clients, they often tell me they just don’t feel thirsty. Our thirst mechanism decreases as we age, so if we aren’t thirsty, we don’t drink. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated.
An average adult needs to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day (that’s just eight, eight-ounce glasses of water). People who want to lose weight, should try to drink a half-ounce for every pound they weigh, so someone who weighs 200 pounds, should drink about 100 ounces a day. Here are some tips to help you ensure you’re getting enough water:
- Keep a two-quarter water jug in your refrigerator and use this as a reminder of how much water you need to drink throughout the day.
- Drink at least 8 ounces first thing in the morning, and make sure to drink 8 ounces of water before every meal. Drinking water with meals helps aid in digestion.
- If you leave the house for work, to run errands or go to appointments, take a water bottle with you, so you don’t go more than an hour without having water.
- If you are easily distracted, consider setting a timer every 60-90 minutes to remind yourself to drink a glass of water. There are also apps for your phone to remind you to drink water.
- Keep water with you while you’re watching TV or reading a book. Instead of mindless munching on chips, take a drink.
- Whenever you need to take a pill or vitamins, be sure to drink a full, eight-ounce glass of water.
People also tell me they are bored with water. To combat that boredom and to refrain from turning to a sugary drink or a diet soda, I often will add a couple of slices of lemon, orange, sliced berries or other fruit to add flavor.
If drinking eight glasses a day seems daunting, ease in to it. Set a goal to add four more ounces a day, and before you know it, you’ll be drinking 64 ounces without even thinking about it, and I’ll even bet you’ll start notice some positive changes.
Of course, if you’re suffering from water retention issues, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders about your fluid intake.