Did you know that your body is made up of 75% water? That’s right, three quarters of your body is water…or at least it should be! More of us are dehydrated than we realize, and it’s critical to our health that we fix this issue and start fueling our bodies with the hydration it needs to function properly. Whether you are an avid hiker or not, hydration is important for you.

Water supports your body in working like it’s supposed to. Proper hydration regulates body temperature, delivers nutrients to cells, and keeps joints lubricated. It can relieve constipation, headaches, and muscle cramps. Additionally, it helps you sleep better, protects you from illness, and can even help you think more clearly. Water is a miracle worker just waiting to do its magic in our bodies.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

You should aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every single day. This probably sounds like a lot, but start small. Start by increasing your current water intake by 8-10 ounces. The next day, increase it a little more. Continue increasing your water intake until you are drinking the recommended amount to stay hydrated.

A word to the wise: as you work on increasing your water intake, be careful not to drink too much in the hours leading up to bedtime. Drinking too much water before bed will likely result in waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. It may take a few days to figure out when your water cutoff should be at night.

Your daily water requirement will be even higher on days you are exercising or doing any kind of physical activity, whether it’s hot out or not. One of the biggest water misconceptions is that we only need to drink when we’re hot. This is a huge problem for those of us who enjoy outdoor activities in the winter. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we don’t need to hydrate ourselves. Hydration is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer; it’s just easier to get dehydrated in the summer because we typically sweat more.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

My #1 tip for staying hydrated is to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. It keeps hydration at the forefront of your mind. Otherwise, you might not even think about drinking a sip of water until dinnertime. The water bottle doesn’t have to be huge; pick one that you like and refill it throughout the day.

If you just don’t love the taste of water, you can enhance its flavor by adding fresh fruit and herbs, such as mint, strawberry, pineapple, and cucumber. Play around with different combinations until you find one you love.

Challenge yourself to drink more water this week, and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you sleeping better? Are you finding physical recovery to be easier on your body? Are you experiencing less muscle cramps? Listen to your body! Chances are, you’ll notice quite a few changes and you’ll feel better all around.

In health, happiness, & hydration,