The Why and How of Staying Hydrated

As a massage therapist, I feel like a broken record when I tell people to stay hydrated and drink more water after a session. People usually smile and nod and say something like, "Oh yeah, I know. I really need to be more hydrated," and then they go on their merry way, business as usual. Dehydrated as usual. 

Now, I'm not perfect at staying optimally hydrated myself, but I do it enough to know that it makes a huge difference in my quality of life and the function of my systems. 

It's crazy to think that water is so simple, yet so versatile. But don't let its simplicity fool you. It is so vital in staying happy and healthy. 

Back in January I wrote a post about how to heal yourself with water that talked about using water in various therapeutic ways during the Winter months. But today I want to keep it even more simple than that. How to enjoy drinking water and staying hydrated and why you should. 
 

The WHY


Because everything needs a "why" these days, and for good reason, here are some insights as to why you should be staying on top of your water game. 

Think of a prune or a raisin. Think of how depleted and dried up it looks. It's not very malleable. It would be useless to stretch it or massage it to get it to be plump and juicy again.

The same is true for our muscles and tissues. If we aren't hydrated, what good would it do to get massages or do yoga to make our bodies healthy again? Our tissues NEED hydration. They need nutrients to be healthy and heal from pain. Think of your insides being a dried prune. That's not going to do anyone any good.

Now think of a plumbing system. No need to get to graphic here, but think of how water is used to push waste along and keeps things clean and clear.  

We need water to keep toxins out of our bodies. They get pushed out of our pipes, the circulatory system and digestive tracts, to keep from getting clogged and unhealthy. If we don't have that water, we are going to have a really hard time getting the gunk out. 

And getting the gunk out also makes room for things to be replenished with glorious nutrients. Don't deny your dear body it's glorious nutrients! 

There are definitely more reasons to stay hydrated, but let's stick with those two for now. 

The HOW

So what if you hate drinking water? I hear that a lot from people. The best, but less popular answer would be to stop drinking crap. Most of the people who hate drinking water are the ones that gotta have their sugary pop beverage or duped up latte. 

You can change your palate, just like with foods. But you gotta work at it. So start small. Replace just one beverage a day with a glass of water, then two, and keep going. Not only will you be putting less crap into your body, but more importantly, you will be putting better things in. 

Or you can negotiate with yourself. You can have a pop only after you drink 2 full glasses of water, for example. 

The other option is to jazz up your water a bit. I like to add fresh mint herbs, like mint or rosemary, to my water. Let it sit for a bit and then enjoy. You can also use lemons, cucumbers, limes, grapefruit, anything that tickles your fancy. It's so refreshing, especially in the summer. 

I like to juice a bunch of lemons and put the juice into ice trays. Then I can just grab a lemon cube from the freezer when I need it and not worry about the lemons going bad. 

And there is a lot of water to get from fresh foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables still have a fair amount of water in them. The more of that you have in your diet, the more hydrated you will be. 

Tea and coffee are also options (tea more than coffee), but make sure you aren't adding too much sugar or cream that would turn a healthy choice into a not-so-healthy choice. 

So how much to drink? I've heard all sorts of numbers. Eight glasses a day, half of your body weight in ounces. Those are good guidelines, but I say just pay attention. You should be going to the bathroom frequently. Your urine should be a happy clear color. Your bowels should be regular. Your skin should be soft. You get the idea. If you really pay attention, you'll know if you aren't getting enough water. 

Most of us are blessed to live in an area where getting all the water we need isn't that big of a deal. And when I say blessed, I mean truly blessed. So take advantage of our precious water. Use it for good. Don't waste it in the shower or doing dishes or on crappy drinks! Use it to nourish and replenish.

So set some hydration goals. Make it a game. Have some fun. It will change your life. 

Until next time,

Take good care.