The Importance of Hydration

Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body depends on water to work properly. Healthy hydration also helps to remove waste and toxins through urination and normal bowel movements.

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Staying adequately hydrated improves performance during exercise by allowing for a lower exercise heart rate and body temperature, increases concentration and cognitive function, and enhances immune system function.

Get Enough Water

The human body is made up of mostly water, so it’s no wonder that getting enough water is key to good health. It quenches thirst, regulates body temperature, flushes toxins, supports normal bowel function and keeps the eyes, nose and mouth moist. It also helps protect the spinal cord, maintains joint flexibility and contributes to healthy skin. Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headache, a dry mouth and weakened immune system, according to a 2019 study in the journal Nutrients.

The amount of water you need per day varies by individual and can depend on your weight, age and level of activity. But in general, aim for eight glasses of fluid a day (about 15.5 cups for men and 11 cups for women). Keep a water bottle at work and sip on it consistently throughout the day.

Replace sugary drinks with water to help reduce your calorie intake. Add a squeeze of lemon or cucumber or mint to your water for flavor, and to support digestive health. You can also add berries to your water for an antioxidant boost.

Get Enough Nutrients

Athletes should consume fluids prior to exercise, minimize fluid losses during the activity and be hydrated at the end of the session. A hydration strategy should include sodium to improve the rate of intestinal uptake and help stimulate thirst and also carbohydrates to increase urine volume, promote electrolyte retention and delay the onset of fatigue after intense exercise in hot environments.

Even modest dehydration impairs cognitive function and decreases performance, especially in warm conditions. It is important for young athletes to be educated on proper hydration strategies that are individualized for them, as they often do not feel when they are getting dehydrated.

Water is crucial for every system in the body, from brain to bones and everything in between. It helps flush toxins, carry nutrients and hormones to cells, and aids in digestion. Drinking enough of it can prevent constipation and bloating, boost energy and mood and keep the immune system strong.

Everyone should strive for a minimum of eight glasses of water per day, though this may vary depending on the individual. If you are exercising on a hot day or have an illness, such as the flu or diarrhea, you will likely need to drink more than usual. In addition to water, the diet should contain plenty of water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Get Enough Sleep

The quality of your sleep is an important factor in determining your mood, energy levels, and overall health. A lack of good quality sleep can increase your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, mental health problems, and car accidents. Get to know how much sleep you need and try to be consistent with your sleeping schedule, especially on weekends. Avoid drinking fluids within a few hours of your bedtime, and limit caffeine, alcohol, and large meals in the evening. You may also want to consider getting regular exercise during the day, but don’t work out too late.

Practice Mindfulness

When you practice mindfulness, you are being fully present in the moment, noticing everything that is happening to and around you. This may include physical sensations, emotions and sounds, as well as thoughts. It can help to reframe your experiences, for instance, when you feel yourself triggered by stress or anger. Instead of wishing for the feelings to go away, you can replace them with acceptance and understanding that these are normal human responses to difficult situations.

Mindfulness is a technique that can be incorporated into many aspects of daily life, including exercise, eating, work, relationships and self-care. One of the most effective ways to do this is through mindfulness meditation, which focuses your attention on breathing and directing your awareness to the current experience. This may seem difficult at first, but with consistency and regular practice, it becomes easier to bring your attention back to the breath when it wanders.

Being mindful can reduce anxiety levels, improve mental health and boost the brain’s ability to manage stress by increasing connectivity in areas of the brain associated with memory and executive function. It also helps people to better tolerate emotional pain and teaches them to avoid the urge to suppress or avoid it, which can actually cause more distress in the long run. Self-care incorporating mindfulness, along with professional therapy, can work in tandem to provide holistic wellness.