I know I need to drink water. “Drink more water”, they recommend, “eight glasses a day”. I know, on my best day, I’m not drinking enough to satisfy this requirement. My wife, Joy, has a water bottle going all day long; brings it with her when she’s grocery shopping, running errands, and dropping off at preschool. It’s as necessary to have nearby as her keys or her phone.
Truthfully, I’ve never done as great a job with water input. This is not a new problem. I used to suffer “migraines” as a kid growing up, especially in the summer time. In actuality, given the hours a day I would spend on the tennis court under the summer sun (see Tennis Is For Losers), I’m pretty sure that not drinking nearly enough water to support this activity was to blame.
But if a June 2014 Women’s Health Magazine article is correct — and of their advice columns, I’d think hydration is among the few that are gender-neutral — there may be more to correct than just the quantity of my water consumption.
Their high-level points:
- Drink water before working out, not just during. This one requires foresight and discipline. But, like stretching, I should be making hydration part of my pre-run or pre-sport preparation.
- Forget eight glasses a day. My first reaction: I’m redeemed! If you’re eating water-rich fruits and vegetables, part of your daily requirement for H2O is being delivered in other ways. On deeper read: it’s actually recommended you intake half your bodyweight daily in ounces of liquid. So eight is a lowball requirement for actual water intake. I still have work to do.
- Allow yourself coffee and tea. While coffee is no longer the sugar vehicle it used to be for me, it’s still part of my daily routine (particularly at work) and one of the excuses I use to mobilize and take mental breaks throughout the workday. While it’s not as effective as water to fluid up, particularly due to the diuretic effects of caffeine, it is better to have a cup of coffee than to abstain from that liquid altogether.
- Rehydrate regularly, not just during periods of exertion. To this end, my hydro-hack beginning in January has been to keep my favorite energy drink powder with me at my desk, to incentivize myself toward more regular water breaks.
- Make sure your snack cravings are real by drinking water first. This is another really useful tip that I’ve adopted more in the last six months, especially as someone who used to snack unnecessarily just to pass time. A glass of water first helps identify real hunger.
So it’s pretty clear I have my work cut out for me: not simply to drink more water (although that’s likely Step One), but also to make sure that I’m timing my hydration to make it most effective. Fortunately for me, if I’m looking for a good example to follow, I have one living under the same roof.
Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.