Stay Hydrated: It's Important!


As we all know, your body depends on water to survive. Every part of our bodies need water to work properly. Our bodies use water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate our joints. It’s needed for our overall good health. Unfortunately most people don't realize how important it is to be hydrated and how not being hydrated can seriously take a toll on your body!

We should be drinking water every day, and no that doesn’t include the water you put into your coffee maker. Most people have been told they should drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day.

Water is by far the best for staying hydrated, however other drinks and foods can help you stay hydrated. The downside is that some may add extra calories from sugar to your diet. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas add to the amount of water you get each day. Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables (for example, watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce), and in soup broths.

Sports drinks can be helpful if you are planning on exercising at higher than normal levels for more than an hour. It contains carbohydrates and electrolytes that can increase your energy and helps your body absorb water. However, some sports drinks are high in calories from added sugar. They also may contain high levels of sodium (salt). Be sure to check the serving size on the label. One bottle usually contains more than one serving. Some sports drinks contain caffeine, too. Remember that a safe amount of caffeine to consume each day is between 200 and 300 mg (milligrams).

If staying hydrated is difficult for you, here are some tips that can help:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water.

  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.

  • Drink water before, during, and after a workout.

  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.

  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.

  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.

Recognizing signs of dehydration is important. They include:

  • Little or no urine.

  • Urine that is darker than usual.

  • Dry mouth.

  • Sleepiness or fatigue.

  • Extreme thirst.

  • Headache.

  • Confusion.

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

  • No tears when crying.

Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water all day, every day.

Some people are at higher risk of dehydration, including people who exercise at a high intensity (or in hot weather) for too long, have certain medical conditions (kidney stones, bladder infection), are sick (fever, vomiting), are pregnant or breastfeeding, are trying to lose weight, or are not able to get enough fluids during the day. Older adults are also at higher risk. As you get older, your brain may not be able to sense dehydration. It doesn’t send signals for thirst.

Water makes up more than half of your body weight. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you are physically active, or if you have a fever. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become very dehydrated very quickly.

In warm months, it’s especially important to keep track of your water intake and to continue to stay hydrated. Most of the time you may not even be aware you are dehydrated until it’s too late! For your beach days, pool days, work days, etc. always make sure to have enough water for you and for your family.

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