Small Steps: Good Hydration

by in Healthy Tips, Small Steps, June 16, 2010

water pitcher

If you’re looking to eat healthier, completely overhauling your diet is not the answer — you’ll be back to your old habits in no time. Studies have shown that making small changes is the best way to create long-term habits. In this new series, we suggest small, easy steps you can take to become healthier. First up: Staying hydrated.

The Benefits
Water makes up around 60 percent of your body weight and plays a big role in numerous bodily functions. It helps flush out toxins, control body temperature and keep body fluids in check (we lose fluids from sweat and running to the restroom).

Water is not the only fluid that can keep you hydrated — the food we eat accounts for about 20 percent of fluid intake, while beverages make up 80 percent. And that old saying of eight to ten glasses a day? Well, that’s not really true either.  Read more on how many fluids you really need each day.

The Goal
Keeping hydrated means listening to your body. When thirst kicks in, make sure to sip on low or no-calorie beverages — water is best. Be careful when choosing juices or natural drinks as many contain unnecessary calories and boatloads of sugar.

If you’re not a big water drinker, start by drinking  one cup per day and work your way up. Carrying around a water bottle (look for BPA-free bottles like SIGG and Klean Kanteen) is a helpful reminder. If you’re looking for ways to flavor up your water or lighter beverage alternatives, check out some of our previous posts:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (396)

  1. Carly says:

    I made it a habit to drink water daily a long time ago. I fill water bottles from the tap (our tap water is great here in Lynnwood WA.) I drink 2-3 1 liter bottles daily. Not just when I exercise either. Not just in hot weather either. This is a year round habit. Sometimes I dilute the water with 1/3 of the bottle filled with juice. It has really helped me a lot.
    Sometimes when we are starting to get dehydrated, our body signals we are hungry, we aren't hungry, we are thirsty. It's amazing how good a glass of water can make you feel. It brings alertness, hydration, satisfaction, health and vitality that is unmatched to the other things we tend to reach for.

    • Lou says:

      2-3 liters a day is a great start, but i would maybe kick it up a notch. i'm a dietrition. 5 liters would be best! Keep working hard!

  2. Ashley says:

    I make it an effort to drink a minimum of two nalgenes a day. so that's about 64 ounces of water a day. I make sure to finish one nalgene by 12 so that I can refill it during lunch and be down with the second one before the day is up. I noticed that with being hydrated that I don't break out as much and my skin feels so much better.

  3. vivian wright says:

    juust coming off a bout of dehydration awful

  4. Dayna Case says:

    All this talk of staying hydrated, makes me wonder why HOT yoga is currently the "hot" trend? They speak of the benifits of detoxing, I don't get it, can anyone help me understand this fitness trend and why it works (or doesn't)?

  5. Neal Garder says:

    Anne, we will investigate!

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