Stay Fit, Happy, and Hydrated With These 14 Warm Weather Hacks
May 18, 2016
We’ll show you how to beat the heat by staying cool and hydrated this summer
Stay Fit, Happy, and Hydrated With These 14 Warm Weather Hacks
As Americans, many of us are spoiled by our easy access to water. There are certainly places that have drought-related water scarcity issues — California’s current water crisis is one that is immediately called to mind — and others with undrinkable, unhealthy, tainted water (we’re looking at you, Flint), but much of our population can safely count on Grandmother’s time-tested recommendation of eight glasses (or 64 ounces) of water daily.
Exactly how much water we should take in is up for debate. The Institute of Medicine released a report that says we should have a bit more water than 64 ounces. It states that men should have 125 ounces of total water (from beverages and food) a day, while women should have 91 ounces total per day. We asked nutritionists ourselves how much water to drink every day and got mixed messages in return.
In the warm summer weather, your water intake should increase as you’re more prone to losing water through sweat. The same goes for those who exercise intensely throughout the year. In addition to the following hydration hacks, we suggest avoiding these 9 Foods That Will Dehydrate You and considering some of our 12 Ice-Cold Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer. Otherwise, grab your glass and get ready for 14 of the coolest ways to convince yourself to drink more water this summer, getting happier and healthier with each ounce you drink.
Add Fruits, Roots, and Leaves for Flavor
If you’re one of the many people who dreads drinking plain old water over and over throughout the day, consider adding healthy fruits like watermelon, berries, lemon, and cucumber in for flavor and nutrients. Roots such as ginger are popular in detox drinks, and there’s no reason not to add a little ginger into your water throughout the day. Green leaves like rosemary and dill can also add flavor to your water, and by choosing mint you may even gain the added benefit of appetite suppression. Consider trying these healthy infused water ideas.
Don’t Want Chunks (or Cancer) in Your Glass?
Invest in an infuser pitcher. These pitchers allow for the flavor of whichever plants you put in them to be infused into the water without the solid fruit being present in your glass, but don’t choose just any pitcher. Nearly 70 percent of American canned food packaging includes BPAs, and they appear in many plastics used for bottling water and making water-carrying vessels. Recently, BPAs were shown to affect the nervous system as well as the reproductive system and they can even inspire the growth of cancerous cells. It would behoove you to make sure that your plastic infuser pitcher is free of the harmful chemical, and if you don't mind the chunks you still better make sure your standard pitcher is BPA-free.
Download a Hydration App
There are plenty of apps that let you keep track of what and where you eat, but did you know that there are apps specifically designed to track your water intake as well? Apps like Plant Nanny factor in your weight and activity level in order to track your hydration throughout the day. With Plant Nanny, not only is your own body’s hydration at stake but the life of an adorable, virtual plant is on the line as well. If you don’t hydrate properly, your plant will wilt — do you want that kind of blood on your hands?
Drink Water Every Time You XYZ
Does your job require you to send emails? Do you use the bathroom during the day? Are you a student, financially bound to class attendance? Water can be incorporated into all of these things and more: Drink a glass of water every time you send an email (if you’re a publicist who sends out hundreds of emails in one day, we understand that this may be quite literally impossible). Each time you relieve yourself or attempt to navigate through the office fridge, have eight ounces of water right afterward. Try to enjoy water before or after every class, or, if you have a five-minute break in the middle of your class, drink water then. Use your daily routines, tasks, and commitments as a way to form healthy hydration habits.
Eat Water-Packed Fruits
Many of the fruits that are popularly infused in water are, in fact, teeming with water themselves, cucumbers, watermelons, and cantaloupes being great examples. Eating these melons in addition to other foods with a high water content (strawberries, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes are a great start) will help you add to your daily water intake without having to down another glass of H2O. Additionally, these 12 recipes will help you stay hydrated.
Forget “Straight, No Chaser”
Every time (and we mean every single time) you drink anything that isn’t water, follow it up with a glass of water. Chasing with water is not only a good hydration habit, but it can help to flush things like caffeine, sugar, and other chemicals out of your system if you decide to have a diet soda or caffeine (two substances that are potentially decimating your sex drive).
Have a Little Bubbly
It’s perfectly acceptable to drink sparkling mineral water, and you shouldn’t fear seltzer either (but please avoid the new, trendy alcoholic seltzers, as alcohol dehydrates you). When we say seltzer, we also don’t mean club soda (the difference being that club soda contains mineral-like ingredients while seltzer is purely carbonated water). While seltzer is carbonated by humans, sparkling mineral water is naturally bubbly (but more times than not humans will, in fact, remove the bubbles while purifying the water, adding carbonation back in afterward to match the original level) . Both of these drinks are perfectly healthy ways to add some fizz to your daily hydration menu.
Infuse Your Cubes
Still looking for a way to make your water taste unlike water? Place some raspberries or blueberries into your ice cube tray or freeze chunks of fruit (pineapples, perhaps) and use them as ice cubes in order to add some healthy sweetness to your glass. Or, try one of our 8 Ice Cubes You Won’t Want to Melt. If all goes as planned, this will inspire you to drink more water throughout the day, each and every tasty ounce putting you in a better state of hydration than the one before.
Make Magnesium a Priority
Trace Minerals Research says the following about how magnesium helps us retain optimal cellular fluid levels:
“Magnesium is the second most plentiful positively charged mineral within the body, following calcium, and is involved with more than 300 enzyme systems. The availability of magnesium for proper muscle and overall energy within all the cells of the body is critical. The body has created a reserve system of magnesium to help maintain stable levels with a full third of skeletal magnesium being on the surface of the bone and acts as a reservoir to maintain the extra-cellular magnesium concentration.”
Seek out magnesium-rich foods such as sunflower seeds, spinach, almonds, and wild rice in order to help your cells become and stay hydrated.
Pour on the Potassium
Like magnesium, potassium is a mineral that is incredibly important for cellular hydration as well as a slew of other body functions. Potassium helps transport water throughout your body. In addition to potassium’s mascot, the banana, kale, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes can help you get the potassium you need.
Protein? In Water?
OK, actual protein water does exist, but that’s not exactly what we’re talking about here. BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) powders are a superb carb-, sugar-, and calorie-free way to add a little flavor incentive to your hydration regimen. BCAAs, such as Scivation Xtend, stimulate protein synthesis, reduce the rate of protein breakdown, help you burn fat, and contain electrolytes, key hydrators. You can find flavorless BCAA powders, but we’re assuming that you’ll want to try one of the many flavored varieties of this supplement. Enjoy them while you exercise or at any other time throughout the day.
Set Water Goals
Buy a gallon jug of water and make measured lines down it with a marker, labeling each one with a time of the day. While some nutritionists don’t recommend a gallon per day, there’s nothing unhealthy about striving for 128 ounces daily. If you want to finish a gallon during your nine to five, start with 10 o’clock at the top followed by 11 o’clock, noon, 1 o’clock, and so on. This is an easy way to keep track of how much you drink each hour and acts as a daily challenge to get your gallon in before the work day is over.
Sodium Isn’t Always Awful
Feeling tired, weak, and lethargic after a workout? Hydration will help this, and electrolytes like sodium will help you become hydrated. Sure, salty foods may be responsible for putting your blood pressure through the roof, but our bodies do need sodium. If you’re not a professional athlete, you’re probably already taking in enough sodium to keep your body properly balanced. If you work out intensely multiple times per day every day of the week, however, you may need to reassess how much sodium you’re taking in.
Start Every Day With Water
As soon as you wake up, down an eight-ounce glass of water. The more frequently you do this, the more likely it is to become a habit (we also have 10 Healthy Eating Habits to Pick Up that you should consider working on as well). If your goal is to drink a gallon a day, you’ll only have 120 more ounces to go. That's nothing, right?