Are you drinking enough water?

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Ryan Day Coaching

Is eight glasses of water a day really enough?

In short, probably not. A good rule of thumb is that you take your bodyweight, cut it in half, and drink that amount of water in ounces every day.

For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you want to drink 90 ounces of water every day.

That’s not all though. You also want to drink about 12 ounces of water for 30 minutes of exercise.

So, is eight glasses of water enough? Maybe.

If you weigh ~130 pounds and don’t exercise, you’re good. If you weigh 80 pounds and exercise an hour a day, you’re also good.

Moral of the story – “eight glasses of water a day” as a blanket recommendation isn’t quite sufficient.

BUT, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

If the formula above suggests you drink 100 ounces of water per day, and you’re only drinking two cups per day – aiming for eight cups a day is way better than anything less than that.

And everybody has to start somewhere, so starting with 8 cups a day is a great goal for somebody just getting started working on proper hydration. Once you do that consistently, then start working up to your actual amount suggested by the formula above.

Why should you even care about hydration?

A very common question. Answer: a lot of reasons.

Proper Digestion

Water is crucial for moving things along through your digestive tract. You might have the rest of your diet dialed and might even be getting enough fiber. Unfortunately, if you aren’t drinking any water along with that, you’re probably going to have some digestive issues.

Weight Loss or Weight Management

Drinking enough water is AWESOME for losing weight for a few reasons. First, it can help you feel full which leads to lower calorie consumption. Second, if you replace your calorie-containing drinks with water, you can save calories that way. Third (and my personal favorite), drinking a lot of water makes you get up to pee a lot which forces you to take more steps.

Boosted Energy

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started feeling a lull around mid-afternoon only to realize I haven’t had any water in a couple hours. Keeping fluids pumping through your system makes it easier for your heart to pump oxygen throughout your body. On the other hand, not giving your body enough water makes your heart work overtime to send that oxygen where it needs to go, ultimately leading to you (or me) feeling the need for a mid-afternoon nap.

Improved Cognitive Performance

This one is somewhat surprising, but even slight dehydration has been shown to negatively impact memory, mood, and concentration. Your brain, which is about 75% water, relies on proper hydration to distribute all the necessary nutrients and compounds for proper neuronal function.

Smoother-Moving Joints

Water helps your joints stay well-lubricated, which allows them to move with much less friction when properly hydrated. After all, the cartilage in your joints can be up to 80% water.

  • A few other benefits of proper hydration:
  • Improves physical performance
  • Helps reduce or eliminate headaches
  • Improves skin appearance
  • May help treat kidney stones

Can help with hangovers (both while drinking and the day after)

Hydration is about more than just water

I’m going to do an entire newsletter on electrolytes in the future, but this is so important that it at least needs mentioning in this write-up.

In the last few years, you may have seen all these new electrolytes start to hit the shelves or your Instagram ads. Liquid IV, LMNT, and even Gatorade has GatorLyte now. These are awesome.

When it comes to hydration, you need more than just water. You need electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) to help your body appropriately balance the fluid you’re giving it. It’s certainly best if you can get electrolytes from your diet, but sometimes these electrolyte “supplements” can be beneficial.

If you’re somebody who eats a really clean diet, you probably need to supplement sodium because you just can’t salt your food enough to get the optimal amount.

If you’re somebody who eats packaged foods and food from restaurants regularly, you might be alright on the sodium front.

Takeaway: Use an app like Cronometer to gauge how much sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium you’re consuming daily. If you don’t at least hit the RDA in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, consider adding foods rich in those minerals to your diet or supplementing. If you don’t hit the RDA in sodium, consider adding more salt to your food or sprinkling some high-quality sea salt in your water throughout the day.

Tips to Drink More Water

Now, how can you make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of water?

Carry around a big water bottle

Seriously. Don’t be ashamed. It doesn’t have to be the big plastic water jug like the gym bros, but a huge water bottle is great. Especially if it has those markings on the side that tell you how much should be gone given the time of day. Start doing this to always have water on hand and to keep yourself accountable throughout the day. The last thing we want is you chugging 3 cups before bed and then getting lousy sleep because of it.

Drink 16oz when you wake up

Your body is likely dehydrated after going 8 hours without water. Douse your insides with two cups right out of the gate, and you’ll be well on your way to hitting your water goal for the day. Bonus points if you sprinkle a little sea salt and lemon juice in there.

Bring water to your workout

It’s easy to forget to hydrate during your workout. If you know you’re going to exercise for an hour, bring at least 24 ounces of water with you and make sure it’s gone before you leave. This is where your water bottle from the first tip comes in handy.

Set reminders or use an app

Set reminders on your phone every hour to drink a glass of water or use an app like Waterminder. You can get creative with how you set this up, but constant reminders throughout the day are great – especially when getting started.

What type of water is best?

Hydrogen water is a scam. Water is literally made of hydrogen already. Do NOT pay extra for hydrogen water.

Had to get that off my chest.

Now, to answer the question. The most important thing is that you get enough water. Don’t lose sight of that.

If you want to be drinking the best water, however, get a solid water filter pitcher or water filter installed under your sink. I personally started using the refillable pitcher by Clearly Filtered three years ago after it was recommended by my friend over @wholesomelivingwellness on Instagram. This filter is great, and the company is super transparent with all its testing.

Conclusion

While it’s often overlooked, proper hydration is a bedrock of a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle. Remember – you don’t need to immediately go from drinking one cup of water every day to 12 cups. Work up to your recommended amount over a couple weeks or a month, and you’ll find it much easier to sustain.