As the holiday celebrations come to a close, you may be looking for a New Year’s reset from all the delicious foods and drinks you indulged in. It might make sense to put proper hydration on your New Year’s resolution list and start treating your body like the temple it deserves to be.

Water makes up 50-75% of the human body. It plays various roles in our bodies, helping to maintain homeostasis, lubricate and cushion joints, protect your spinal cord and sensitive tissues, and get rid of toxins and wastes. Your body needs more water when you are living in hot climates, being more physically active, running a fever, or having diarrhea or vomiting.

Studies show that higher total water intake is associated with lower mortality risks. Drinking more water can lower blood pressure, increase body temperature, dilute blood waste materials, and protect kidney function. In a study that included 20,297 adults without heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, participants who drank five or more glasses of water per day were associated with a 54% decreased risk of fatal coronary heart disease compared with participants who drank two or fewer glasses of water per day.

Proper hydration is also crucial for supporting pelvic health. It can be difficult for people dealing with pelvic floor issues (i.e. urinary urgency, incontinence, UTIs, painful urination) to drink enough water for fear of exacerbating their symptoms. However, dehydration can actually worsen these symptoms due to irritation to the bladder. Dehydration makes it harder to move our bowels and we can become more constipated.

The Mayo Clinic recommends the minimum daily intake of water ia 11.5 cups (or 92 ounces) for women and 15.5 cups (or 124 ounces) for men. However, water intake varies for everyone and depends on various factors. We typically recommend people drink at least half their body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75 ounces a day.

Here are 5 tips to help you drink more water:

  1. 1. Track it: One easy method to track water intake can be having time goals written on the side of your water bottle. You can also purchase water bottles with the times of day already labeled on it.
  2. 2. Set reminders: If you tend to be busy running around throughout the day, it could help to set hourly alarms or reminders to drink a glass of water or two.
  3. 3. Tie it with a routine: For every routine activity in your day (i.e. brushing your teeth, making coffee, cooking food), pair it with a glass of water to drink.
  4. 4. Flavor it with fruit: Adding fruit to your water can make water more fun and flavorful while also getting additional nutrients. Good fruits to add to water can be lemons, oranges, watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, and even herbs.
  5. 5. Pair it with your other drinks: If you have difficulty fully giving up sodas, juices, or caffeine, try drinking a glass of water whenever you have your other drinks. This can help dilute the acidity in your bladder.

Written by Kimberly Le, PT, DPT

References:

  1. Zhou H-l, Wei M-h, Cui Y, Di D-s, Song W-j, Zhang R-y, Liu J-a and Wang Q (2022) Association Between Water Intake and Mortality Risk—Evidence From a National Prospective Study. Front. Nutr. 9:822119. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.822119
  2. “Water and Healthier Drinks.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 June 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/water-and-healthier-drinks.html#:~:tex t=Getting%20enough%20water%20every%20day,to%20constipation%20and%20kidney %20stones.
  3. Liana Reiland, D. N. P. (2021, July 12). Tips for drinking more water. Mayo Clinic Health System. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/tips-for-dri nking-more-water

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