If you’ve participated in a Best Day Ever challenge, then you know that water intake plays an important role in the daily routine.
And you may have noticed it really can be challenging to drink enough of it.
“People are often surprised to find out how little water they actually drink,” says Dr. Jenna Jorgensen, a natuopathic doctor based in Bellingham, Wash.
In fact, Dr. Jenna recommends taking a day to figure out just how much – or how little – you are currently drinking. You may be surprised.
Once you've got that baseline, you can see if there's room to improve.
Health through hydration
Dr. Jenna calls water the “elixir of life.” Water is vitally important to our health, and often is underutilized as a means to get and stay healthly, she says.
Dr. Jenna challenges people commit 14 days to drinking their minimum optimal amount of water (see formula below).
The results, she says, are impressive.
People often begin noticing an improvement in the first few days. Brain fog lifts, constipation resolves and joints cease to ache. Once people realize they can feel that much better simply by improving their water intake, adopting the habit becomes much easier, she says.
Are you down a quart (of water)?
Our bodies should be about 60% water, but Dr. Jenna notices patients often fall as low as 50%-55% total water. No wonder we feel sluggish when we’re dehydrated.
Not only is our blood mostly water (about 92%), it’s true on a cellular level, too. Water serves as a lubricant, allowing our bodies’ processes to "slide into action" that much easier, Dr. Jenna says.
And we naturally lose 2 to 3 liters (roughly half to three-quarters of a gallon) of water each day by simply peeing, pooping, sweating and breathing. That’s a lot to replace on a daily basis.
Your car doesn’t perform well when it’s down a quart of oil. So what about you down a quart of water?
Making water a habit
Even if we know something is good for us, sometimes it’s hard to make it a habit.
Fortunately, technology comes to the rescue with apps that not only remind us to drink water but also make it fun. Dr. Jenna likes “Plant Nanny,” which lets you water your plant each time you remember to drink water. Forget, and your plant starts to wilt.
The Apple Watch also has reminders you can use, or simply set a timer on your phone as a reminder.
The other part of making a water a habit is making sure it’s accessible at all times. If you have a hard time remembering to bring water with you throughout the day, invest in a few good-quality water bottles so you have access in all the usual places – you car, your office, your gym bag.
Dr. Jenna’s formula for finding your personal minimum water intake
Baseline: ⅓ your body weight in ounces. For a 150-pound person, that’s 50 oz. of water
And an additional 8 oz. of water for every 8 oz. of coffee or black tea you consume.
And another 8 oz. of water for each half hour you exercise.
So, if Jane weighs 132 pounds, one-third of her weight is 44, so her baseline is 44 oz. of water. Since Jane usually drinks 2 cups of coffee per day, that’s an additional 16 oz. of water, for a total of 60 oz. a day. She typically exercises for an hour 3 days per week, bringing her minimum water intake to 76 oz. on those days.
This is why you often see the "drink half of your body weight in water" advice because it gets pretty close to this more complicated formula, which may be worth following if you drink a lot of coffee or log a lot of hours exercising.
Now, drink up, and thrive!
Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash