Hydration can have many different impacts on your overall health and wellness. Every cell and organ in your body requires water to function correctly.
If your lips are chapped, your skin dry, your digestion off, your muscles sore, your body bloated, or if you feel tired or fatigued, you might not be well-hydrated. Even if you're drinking enough water, you may not be drinking it in a way that's harmonious to the body.
The body needs water for all its functions; to flush out toxins, digest, carry nutrients to the cells, lubricate joints, and cool the body (plus a myriad of other actions). When we sweat and urinate-- or even just breathe and carry out our day-to-day activity-- it's imperative that we replenish the body's lost water.
Proper hydration requires first and foremost drinking enough water. We've all heard the 8 glasses a day rule. But given that we're all different sizes with varying lifestyles, this rule isn't applicable to everyone. Some of us are big and some small, some sweat more than others, some practice rigorous exercise and some don't, some live in hot, humid climates while others live where it's cold and dry. Each of us loses a different amount of water each day, which means there's no one-size-fits-all rule.
There might not be a scientific way to measure how much water is enough. However, the body gives us plenty of clues. Thirst is a natural urge that should never be ignored-- it's a message that the body needs water. Always drink when you're thirsty. That being said, don't only drink water when you're thirsty, but sip water throughout the day.
Your lips and urine provide more clues. Urine should be more or less clear and straw colored and anything darker might signify a need for more water. Your lips too are an indicator of hydration. If they're feeling dry, moisturize with a glass of water rather than lip balm.
Proper hydration isn't only about how much you drink, but also how you drink. Just as the body thrives with the proper ingestion of food-- slow, thorough chewing and regular mealtimes, for example, the body thrives with proper intake of water.
First things first, drink room temperature or even warm water. In the US, we have a bad habit of drinking ice water. In general, cold food and beverage is not good for the body. Icy cold water douses the digestive fire (the body's source of heat and the principle responsible for digestion). Skip the ice cubes and switch to room temperature water in the summer and warm water in the winter. This keeps the digestive fire burning as it should.
Next, sit down and sip. We should not only sit down to eat, but to drink, too. Sit down, take a sip, and then take a breath. Repeat. Chugging massive amounts of water will just make you run to the bathroom. Make it a habit to drink slowly and mindfully.
The manner in which you take in water can make a huge difference in hydration, digestion, excretion, and the way in which you feel on a daily basis. When it comes to drinking water, listen to your body to know how much is enough, and you'll see and feel a huge difference.
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