Lists about good health will always include four essential things: Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep -- and drinking lots of water. That last one can be the simplest and easiest one to get right because you can get started on it right now, wherever you are.
The one common piece of advice is that you need eight glasses of water a day. Dr. Zaheeruddin Syed, a family medicine physician with Lee Health, says drinking water helps with digestion and weight loss. “You need water for your skin, for your organs, for cellular respiration, for digestion, and to just clean all the toxins out of your body.” But most experts say that water needs vary by individual. Sex, weight, and physical activity means you may need more or less than those eight glasses.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported that an adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men, 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. That comes to about six or eight glasses a day, so you don’t need to do a lot of intricate measuring. Don’t forget that you can also get some water through certain foods such as lettuce, watermelon, and spinach as well as any soups or broths that you may add to your dinner.
Basically, you have to look and understand the signs your own body is sending you. The best test is checking on your urine color. “You want to look at your urine and see how frequently you are going to the restroom. If you’re going once a day or your urine is a dark yellow, then that kind of gives an indication systemically that I’m not getting enough water. I need to drink more,” Dr. Syed says, adding that you’ll need to drink more water if you have a dry tongue, a dry mouth, or your eyes or skin feel dry.
Water also gets excreted through sweat – and that’s a big concern in Southwest Florida. Always drink extra water if you are outdoors to avoid dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration are feeling tired, dizzy, or lightheaded. Even mild dehydration can make you feel a lot of fatigue.
OK, so we know we need to drink more water. But it’s a tough habit to get into if you aren’t used to it. Here are some quick ideas:
Remember that soda and sugary drinks are not good substitutes for water. If you love drinking these, though, remember to drop in a squirt of water or add some ice to your drinks, and you’ll eventually start to feel the difference.
Need help with water integration, nutritional advice, or fitness? Visit our Healthy Life Centers page to find a location near you.
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