You hear it all the time in the summer, “Make sure you stay hydrated.”  But, proper hydration is important all year long, not just when the weather is hot.

I don’t know about you, it’s easy for me to remember to drink water in the summer. It’s hot, I sweat a lot and the very act of sweating seems to remind me to drink more. But once the weather cools off I tend to drink less. I have to remind and push myself to drink adequate amounts of water. More than once I’ve had an unexplained worsening of my asthma and then remembered that I’ve drunk nothing but my morning coffee for two days.  No wonder I’m having problems breathing, and my joints hurt.

So, to counter my natural tendency to forget to drink water I set a timer on my phone for every hour that I’m awake. The timer has two purposes.

1. It reminds me to get up and go for a walk so that I don’t sit or stand in one place working for  long periods of time.

2.It reminds me to drink a glass of water.

Inadequate hydration causes stress in the body and that stress can cause a variety of health complains. Everything from problems breathing, stuffy nose, achy or painful joints, brain fog, and headaches.  In my experience the most common complaints from mild dehydration are simple fatigue and headaches, but any feelings of being unwell can be caused by lack of hydration.

Many people suggest drinking 8-12 glasses of water each day. That seems like an arbitrary number to me, I prefer more personalized recommendations. Personally I try to drink enough water each and every day so that my urine is a very light pale yellow. Clear urine means you’re probably overly hydrated, and dark-colored urine usually indicates dehydration.

I’m not overly found of the taste of our local water. We have a basic filter, but it doesn’t help much. To counter that I usually us something to flavor the water. I use herbal tea bags, a splash of lemon or lime juice, or  1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon   of apple cider vinegar. I have a big mint patch and sometimes I’ll add fresh mint leaves to my water. I use a pure stevia powder to sweeten my drinks, or I grab a few leaves from my stevia plant.

I notice a huge difference in how I feel when I make it a point to pay attention to hydration.

If you want to read more about how dehydration negatively impacts your health, well being and cognitive function check out these three articles:

PsychCentral News

Mayo Clinic


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