By Jen Gendron: Health & Wellness Coach, PTS/FIS
While water intake is super important all year round, over the holidays when we are caught up in the hustle & bustle and running around doing errands, shopping and visiting, it can be a time that is especially hard to make sure you are staying on track. Unfortunately, by the time we realize we have not had enough water, we can already be feeling headachy and cranky – not the best way to be feeling around the holidays!
The body uses water for so many important functions such as regulating body temperature, facilitating nutrient metabolism, aiding in digestion and elimination, cushioning joints and the spine, nourishing organs and tissues, and so much more. Since most of us aren’t getting enough water, it’s important to pay attention to how much you’re drinking and make an effort to drink more on a daily basis. Your body will thank you!
The recommended daily intake of water for most adults is 2 liters. Think about how much you drink in one day, are you getting close to that? If not, it’s time to start drinking more. While 2 liters is the recommended daily intake, it’s important to remember that there are factors that will affect your own personal daily needs. Some of these factors include your own unique body’s needs, exercise frequency and intensity, the surrounding climate and your consumption level of drinks such as coffee and alcohol.
The most important thing is that you are drinking according to thirst. Start to pay attention to your thirst mechanism and attempt to try to be drinking enough water to never feel very thirsty. Our bodies are trained to let us know when we need water and usually by the time you are starting to feel thirsty, you are already starting to become slightly dehydrated. We have complex hormonal and neurological processes that are constantly monitoring how hydrated we are. And, for healthy adults, this system is very reliable.
Besides thirst, pay attention to how dark and concentrated your urine is. The darker your urine, the more effort your body is making to hold on to the water it has. Urine is still getting rid of the waste, but in a smaller volume of water, so it looks darker.
There are a few other things to consider when evaluating your hydration status. If you are exercising and sweating a lot, you will need to drink more. If you drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, it is also important to remember to up your water intake as caffeine acts as a diuretic (yes that is why we feel as though our coffee “runs right through us”!)
A few things to consider over the holidays:
- Drinks containing sugar, alcohol, and caffeine will have effects besides hydration. Sugary drinks can affect blood sugar balance and cause food cravings. Be mindful of this if you are enjoying some special drinks over the holidays.
- If you are indulging in an alcoholic beverage or two over the festive season, be sure to follow up with a glass of water after each drink or glass of wine to keep yourself hydrated.
- If you are going out shopping or running errands, be sure to bring bottled water with you and sip on it continuously. If you will be out for long periods of time, be sure you have enough with you to keep you hydrated the whole time you are out and about.
If you tend to be someone who forgets to drink water as you rush around, try filling a 2-litre bottle or jug in the morning and reminding yourself throughout the day that you need to have it finished by the time you got to bed at night. It may take you some time to adjust to this, especially if you are not a big water drinker however, you will quickly get in to the habit and miss the water when you don’t have it.
By following these simple tips you can keep yourself hydrated and happy throughout the holidays!