3 Tips to Stay Hydrated Every Day

3 Tips to Stay Hydrated Every Day

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Staying hydrated can be easier to do with a few simple strategies.

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A person drinks a glass of water.

FEB. 28, 2023   3 MINUTE READ

You know it's important to stay hydrated, but knowing is only half the battle. If only you could count on thirst to tell you what your body needs. Unfortunately, research shows that dehydration consistently outpaces physiological thirst. That means you tend to be mildly dehydrated long before you feel thirsty.

Why Does Hydration Matter?

"Water is an essential part of keeping every cell in your body working at its best," says Jennifer Williams, MPH, a nutrition scientist at Abbott specializing in hydration.

Drinking enough water is crucial for many important bodily functions. Fluids help lubricate your joints, assist digestion, deliver nutrients to cells throughout your body, regulate your body temperature and even cushion your brain and spinal cord. Dehydration can lead to a number of unwanted conditions, such as fatigue, brain fog and headaches.

The exact amount of water your body needs per day depends on a number of factors, including your body size, activity level and the weather. As a general rule, women should drink about 9 cups of water per day, and men should drink roughly 13 cups daily, according to the National Academy of Medicine.

3 Tips to Stay Hydrated Every Day Micrographic 3 Tips to Stay Hydrated Every Day Micrographic

Hydration Tips to Enhance Your Daily Routine

If you're struggling to get enough fluids, you're not alone. Dehydration is common for people of all ages. It can be a challenge to stay hydrated, but these tips can help you establish habits to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine.

1. Set Reminders

Even if you know you need to drink frequently throughout the day to stay hydrated, it can be easy to forget or to let time get away from you. So give yourself some friendly reminders. There are plenty of ways to do this, and the best one is the one that works for you.

Try to set reminders on your phone; connect drinking with a specific activity, such as using the restroom; or place water bottles in rooms and areas you frequent, such as your car.

2. Eat Plenty of Produce

Ideally, foods should serve up about 20% of your daily fluid intake. The bulk of that water can easily come from fruits and veggies. Some particularly juicy produce picks — such as iceberg lettuce, cucumber and watermelon — are over 90% water.

Consider how many servings of fruits and veggies you're currently eating per day. Then, over time, move toward a five-a-day habit. Start small for sustainable success rather than making big, drastic changes. For example, you might pair a piece of fruit with your morning coffee, add spinach and diced tomatoes to your spaghetti or stir some strawberries into your Greek yogurt.

3. Keep an Eye on Your Urine Color

What goes in must come out. And while thirst may not be a perfect indicator of hydration status, urine color is a pretty reliable one. So, before you flush, Williams recommends taking a peek. If you're well hydrated, your urine should be clear or light yellow. Dark yellow or amber urine can be a telltale sign of dehydration.

Adjust your daily fluid intake to keep yourself in the light yellow range. You may notice that it takes more fluids to keep yourself hydrated on days that you exercise or are outside in hot or humid weather. Over time, you'll get a better sense of how much fluid it takes to stay within that ideal range.

Fluid intake guidelines are just that: rough guidelines. But by building sustainable daily hydration habits, you can help ensure that your body is getting what it needs to function at its best.

The Importance of Hydration Explained

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Water makes up close to 60 percent of the human body, yet we often underestimate the importance of hydration. Even though water keeps your brain firing at top speed, your muscles moving and your heart healthy, a lot of people still don't get enough water to stay properly hydrated.

Research in ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal shows that losses of just 1 to 2 percent of body fluids can be accompanied by serious side effects like impaired cognition. For a 150-pound person, that's the equivalent of close to two pounds in water weight.

Do you need a hydration refresherJennifer Williams, MPH, research scientist and hydration expert at Abbott, shares the six most common causes of dehydration — and how to take control of each.

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Defend against these dehydration causes

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If you or a family member are feeling tired, headache-y or cranky, it's easy to assume that a cold or virus is coming on. However, the real culprit could be dehydration. "The stomach flu, fever, morning sickness, sweltering temperatures, exercising heavily on a hot day, and even travel are all common dehydration causes," says Jennifer Williams, M.P.H., a research scientist at Abbott.

Dehydration is basically a loss of body water. This includes both water and vital electrolytes such as sodium, chloride and potassium. Water is so critical it makes up about 60 percent of body weight in adults, and up to 75 percent of body weight in infants. We need it for important jobs such as regulating body temperature, maintaining healthy skin and joints, digesting food, removing waste and helping our brains function at their best. 

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