Written by: Tara Sabo
Published: July 2017
At this time of year, tourists come by the carload to this beach town we live in. Lake Michigan draws them in, its freshwater waves providing a cleansing effect that preps them for a return trip home. We locals know the power of Lake Michigan, and that’s why we live here. But really, it’s water in general that keeps us alive. And that big body of it to the west of us? A friendly reminder that life without water would not be the same.
Water is powerful in so many ways, but its most important role is to hydrate the human body. This is a simple concept, really: Drink water, feel good. And yet, the struggle is real. The human body needs 2-3 liters of water every day. An especially active human body needs even more. Throw in heat, humidity and various other circumstances, and the recommended
number of liters rises even higher. But so many of us fail to drink the right amount of water.
So let’s talk: Why is water important?
About 70% of the human body is water, so we cannot live or function without it. Digestion, circulation, respiration, temperature regulation, brain function…all of these systems work properly because of water. Like a car without gas, you simply won’t go without it. “I drink water when I’m thirsty,” you say. That’s good, but with the presence of thirst sensations, you are already 1-2% dehydrated.
Dehydration leads to a number of issues. Lack of water interrupts the systems of the body, which ultimately leaves you feeling ill. In addition to being thirsty, key signs of dehydration include dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, headache and dizziness. In other words, performance tanks big time. So drink all the water, because then you’ll feel good. Repeat this constantly: Drink water, feel good.
5 Ways to Drink More Water
1) Keep water with you at all times. Buy yourself a fancy water bottle, and get your money’s worth by using it regularly.
2) Add flavor to make it interesting—because water is boring, right? Infuse it with slices of citrus, or make a cup of tea. Make fresh-squeezed juices, or have a cup of homemade lemonade. Remember, beverages with a water base count toward your daily intake (just keep track of added sugars).
3) Choose foods that are full of water. Think fruits and veggies. Have your water and eat it, too!
4) Physically keep track of how much you consume. Make it game, much like counting steps or logging miles. Mark your water bottle with times of the day, then drink down as you go. Or make a chart on your calendar, filling in dots per cup or ounce upon completion.
5) Play with texture. If pop is your thing, drink sparkling water instead. Again, watch out for added ingredients. Water is water, even with bubbles, but addins not otherwise natural might compromise nutritional value.
Bottom line, drink up. Let the lake remind you how important this one small task is.