Especially in summer, the reminders may come more fast and furious to remain hydrated in the heat. More and more people are carrying around reusable water bottles as constant companions, but (if you’re anything like me!) you might find it hard to enjoy drinking water—especially in the quantities that the commercials of the world may tell us we need. While the eight-eight-ounce-glasses-of-water rule has been debunked—it actually came from a 1945 journal article, but seems to have been a number pulled from thin-air as the article didn’t note a citation for this so-called-“fact”!—that doesn’t mean hydration is bunk, too!
Yes, water is still important.
Our bodies need water to function properly—the obvious, is that we need to replace what water comes out of our bodies when we sweat (thus why summertime might also be a haven for the hydration police!), as well as when we use the bathroom. More hidden ways our bodies use water? To cushion our joins so we don’t get injured when we move, to transport waste products around within the body so that they can be excreted, and to keep your blood flowing smoothly—among many others! So, even if the “eight-by-eight” rule has been debunked, it’s still important to drink enough fluids!
What’s the deal with dehydration?
Dehydration means your body does not have enough water to function optimally—and a lot of us walk around dehydrated on a daily basis. Your heart may have to beat harder/faster to keep blood moving around your body effectively, which means it’s not working as efficiently as it could be. If you are dehydrated, you may feel tired, have a headache, or feel dizzy and irritable. Later on, you may feel nauseous and vomit (contributing to even worse dehydration)—and yes, dehydration can lead to death. 
But I don’t LIKE water.
Fair enough, me either! The good news is, it’s both easy to consume enough fluids and gauge your level of hydration. While estimates from medical professionals vary on how many times a day it’s “normal” to urinate—some say about 8 times per day, including up to—but no more than—twice at night is normal; another says no more than every two to four hours. This all depends how much fluid you’re consuming, and how much you’re excreting (peeing out). The number one way to check your hydration—pun intended!—is to simply check out the colour of your urine. Somewhere around a “light straw” colour is ideal, whereas anything darker means you should probably make your next stop after the bathroom to be to find some fluids! [2, 3]
And, if you don’t like water, here are some easy ways to give your body the fluids it needs—remember, though, to be mindful to not “drink your calories”—sugary fluids (like pop, Popsicles, or sugar-sweetened iced tea or fruit punch) should be consumed in moderation, as should sugary/fat-containing/caffeinated drinks—yep, I know how good a Frappuccino is on a hot day, too, but keep ‘em few and far between (and swap for low- or non-fat milk and skip the whip!).
- Water with fruit infused (here’s how, with some ideas!)
- 100% fruit juices (bonus if you dilute with water!)
- Freezies/freeze pops and popsicles (in moderation, or made with 100% fruit juices!)
- Milk or chocolate milk
- Flavoured water (avoid artificial sweeteners if possible, opting for natural sweeteners like agave or stevia)
- Home-brewed iced tea, or the classic “Arnold Palmer”—an iced tea/lemonade combo.
And if you just can’t figure out how to drink enough? You’re not alone! Just the other day I had lunch with a friend who was in a hydration challenge with her coworkers—if some competition helps, grab some friends and heckle one another to stay hydrated, and make a prize for it! If you’re not up for confessing your issues hydrating, don’t worry—your smart phone can help, too! Check out these apps—select the filter for your smartphone of choice—or, consider investing in a new Smart Water Bottle—nope, I’m not joking, they’re available for preorder!
What’s your favourite thing to drink, and how do you remember to keep consuming fluids, especially in the hot summer months? Let us know in the comments!