Before you continue reading, do me a small favor. Please take a sip of water. Because there is a good chance that you, like me, are not hydrated enough. Perhaps I’m projecting, because truthfully I’m not great at remembering to drink water. I drink a few ounces in the morning right after waking up but often lapse into forgetfulness as the day continues.
Every day, we are supposed to drink somewhere between 0.5 – 1 ounce of water per body pound. So for me at 140 pounds, my goal should be to drink 70 – 140 ounces of water throughout the day. The broad range is to account for the temperature and humidity plus your level of physical activity.
If you’re sweating a lot you must replace those fluids, and you need electrolytes as well. I learned this the hard way on a bike trip five years ago. I traveled many miles with my two trusty squeeze bottles always filled with plain water. Then one day I was biking across the desert in New Mexico during a scorching August afternoon.
I began to hallucinate that I was at the bottom of the ocean. I saw seaweed rippling all around me. So I let go of my handlebars to start swimming. Moments later I was pulled off on the side of the road, unable to stand up.
Luckily I had a buddy with me who gave me a sip of Gatorade. I will never forget how instant my body’s reaction was. Within a minute I felt like a brand new person. After that experience I became an electrolyte connoisseur.
My aunt, who is the most hardcore person I know, used to go on 30-day backpacking trips in the Montana wilderness back in the 90s. I can assure you she was not hauling Gatorade on those long expeditions. All she did was add a pinch of sea salt to her water bottle every day. But…she also swears that sucking on small rocks is the best cure when you’re hiking and thirsty, so take her advice with a grain of salt (Lol).
I’m not particularly active these days. So my intention is to drink 80 ounces of plain water per day. Why this specific number? Because it corresponds to the best thing I ever bought myself: a proper water bottle.
The past few years I was sipping from a scratched-up plastic bottle. It was hard to clean and it began to smell nasty. Also (and I know this makes me sound really lazy) I hated unscrewing the cap every time I wanted to drink. So I switched to a glass cup. But this was annoying too, because it was easy to spill and it didn’t hold much water.
Then in January I was in a random store when I stumbled across the Holy Grail of water bottles: a 40-ounce insulated metal canister with a sturdy flip top lid. It wasn’t as absurdly expensive as some popular brands of metal water bottles. I bought a green one for Sung and a sky blue one for me.
Let me tell you, these bottles are game changers! They keep water cold and they never leak. And you can purchase different styles of lids. Sorry, I know this is beginning to sound like an ad, but I’m just genuinely in love with this thing. I try to fill it up twice a day so I’m drinking 80 ounces. When I manage to do this, I feel less fatigued and my eyes and lips don’t get dry. The only downside is I have to pee a lot more.
Water isn’t the only way to hydrate your body. If you eat fruits and vegetables or consume liquids like tea, broth or milk, you don’t need to drink as much water. On the other hand, alcohol and sugary beverages such as soda, lemonade and fruit juice, are very dehydrating. Just because something is drinkable doesn’t mean it will quench your thirst. I’ve heard conflicting things about coffee: It is a mild diuretic (increases urination), but supposedly it’s not the worst culprit.
One of the best things you can do for your everyday health is to get a quality water bottle. Bonus points if it’s a bright color so it will catch your eye. Make sure it has an easy-access lid that’s simple to clean. Try to keep your water bottle within arms reach of wherever you are sitting. I know it sounds stupid but sometimes the little things add the most value to our lives. Cheers to hydration!