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  • Stephanie Duguid

Keeping healthy on water

By Guest Columnist Stephanie Duguid

Keeping healthy on water

Did you know that more than half of the human body is made up of water -- up to 60% to be exact? It is important to stay hydrated for your body to work properly. Drinking enough water keep you healthy in several ways:

  • Strengthening brain and heart function.

  • Improving digestion.

  • Preventing kidney stones.

  • Promoting weight loss.

  • Reducing joint pain.

  • Regulating temperature.

  • Increasing energy levels.

A few additional benefits of water:

  • Strengthens your immune system.

  • Removes waste products from your body.

  • Protects your spinal cord.

  • Cushions your joints.

  • Helps clear skin.

  • Fuels Muscles.

  • Boosts Productivity.

How do you know if you are drinking enough? How can you tell when you are dehydrated? Look for these key signs:

  • Dry mouth or extreme thirst.

  • Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness.

  • Dry skin, decreased skin elasticity and cracked lips.

  • Little to no urine or darker urine than normal (healthy urine color for someone who is well hydrated is light yellow, close to clear).

  • Heart palpitations.

  • Low blood pressure.

  • Sleepiness, fatigue or confusion.

How much is enough?

Most people think already drink enough water. But if you have some of the key signs above, you may not have as much as you think. You have probably heard the advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. That is a reasonable goal, but everyone is different based on size and activity level. A great rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day. Some may need less, while some may need more. If you are physically active or live in a hot climate, you will need to replace the water you are losing through the sweat.

Here's to make sure you get enough water:

1. Take a water bottle with you when you are away from home. You can freeze one to have ice cold water on the go.

2. Keep a filled reusable water bottle with you at your desk or when you are out and about so you have it handy.

3. Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks. Drinking water instead of one 20-ounce sugar-sweetened drink can save you 240 calories.

4. Order water when you’re eating out. Try adding a slice of lemon, cucumber, berries, or lime for a burst of flavor.

5. Drink on a schedule, especially before, during, or after a workout

6. Try drinking a glass of water when you are feeling hungry. You could just be thirsty.

7. Eat some fruit, since they are full of water.

a. Watermelon -- up to 91%

b. Strawberries -- up to 91%

c. Grapefruit -- up to 91%

d. Cantaloupe -- up to 90%

e. Pineapple -- up to 86%

Take the time to evaluate your day to see what small changes you can make to increase your water consumption.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Stephanie Duguid is Dean of Academic Instruction at Co-Lin. She is also an athletic trainer and nutrition specialist and has been teaching courses related to those two areas as well as practicing what she preaches for more than twenty years.

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