About 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in it and about 80 percent of our bodies are made of it. Water is at the root of life, which would explain why you should be consuming a sufficient amount. Not only does proper hydration account for a well-functioning body, but it can also make your skin appear soft and supple, your lips smooth and kissable and your muscles hard and defined. But buyer beware: when it comes to hydrating a fit body (like yours), you should be mindful of more than just how much water you’re drinking.
When it comes to hydration, you must…
…drink often and when it matters most.
Sip water morning until night to ensure you’re getting the recommended 64 ounces per day. Here’s the catch: If you’re extremely active, or extremely prone to sweating, you may need more than the recommended amount. Adjust your daily water intake according to your activity levels and sweat rate.
Through sweat, we lose sodium – an essential electrolyte that keeps our bodies in balance. When you consume too much sodium, you risk bloating and water retention (not ideal for that summer bikini). But too little sodium sets you up for symptoms of dehydration – fatigue, cramping or worse. Keep in mind that most people lose 1,000-2,000 mg of sodium for every two hours of moderate exercise. When you’re working extra hard and for an extended period of time, water may not be enough. Try electrolyte-rich coconut water to help replenish lost nutrients and avoid dehydration.
…vary your choices.
Let’s face it, plain agua gets boring — and boredom leads to giving up. Just as you vary your workouts to keep your muscles from adapting, change the way you drink water. Opting for coconut water is one variation, which will not only hydrate your body but may also transport your mind to a tropical paradise. Not nuts for coconuts? That’s okay. There are a number of flavored drink mixes, infused with vitamins and minerals to support your active lifestyle. Emergen-C comes in fruity tangerine, lemon-lime and acai berry. Not only do these single packets of goodness offer 1,000 mg of vitamin C, but you’ll benefit from added antioxidants, B vitamins and over 20 other nutrients.
Coffee and tea may also count toward your water goals. And don’t forget that many fruits and veggies can be great sources of water. (Why do you think it’s called watermelon?) However, don’t rely on these other sources for even half of your daily needs. You should be drinking water in addition to consuming healthy amounts of good-for-you foods.
Perhaps the best habit to get into is keeping a water bottle on hand at all times. Remember: strong is the new skinny. But without a well-hydrated body, you will not be able to maintain that strong, fit body. Drink up and be healthy!
Jennifer Nicole Lee is an international fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on Oprah, CBS The Early Show, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment and Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports. Check out her health and fitness tip videos exclusively on the Vitacost Live Wire.