FEEL BETTER EVERYDAY WITH PROPER HYDRATION
Pop quiz: what’s the first thing you do in the morning? Hit the snooze button? Throw a pillow over your head and burrow under the covers for five more minutes of shut-eye? Check your phone? What if we told you that there’s something you could do as soon as your eyes open — and all the way through the day — that would have a major impact on your clarity of thinking and on your energy level? Seriously. It’s as simple as drinking a glass of water, and continuing to do so all day long. “Everything in your body will function at a higher rate if you’re properly hydrated, because cells, muscles and organs all need water to function,” says Paul Hagerty (LAc, CSCS) a TB12 Body Coach. “If you’re not drinking enough water, you’re not doing one of the most basic things to help you reach your potential.” So drinking more water equates to achieving more.
Sure, it might sound simple, but the benefits aren’t. Drinking more water can improve everything from your muscle performance to your mood, yet it’s probably a safe wager that some days you barely crack fifty ounces, and others you might be tilting the scales by counting that occasional alcoholic beverage or morning cup of green tea. “In seeing patients all day every day, I would say the average person drinks around three water bottles a day, so that’s about fifty ounces of water — which isn’t much,” says Hagerty. “Then they combine that with alcoholic drinks, or certain medications that can act as a diuretic.” That means the water you are drinking isn’t having the impact you need or want it to. “Your body is made up of 60 to 80 percent water, and the more hydrated you are, the better your organs and nervous system can communicate with one another,” says Hagerty. “Some studies have shown that even a slight dip in hydration levels can negatively affect your mood.” Physically, water works to aid tissue repair and growth. “Water allows our cellular function to occur. It helps regulate your temperature, transports nutrients to your cells, and helps with the removal of waste,” he says. That’s why for the next 12 days, you’re going to focus on drinking half of your body weight in ounces of crisp, clear water.
Like we said, your mission is simple: for 12 days, all you have to do is drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you’ll be drinking 70 ounces, if you weigh 170 pounds, you’ll be drinking 85 ounces, and so on. Got it? Try to keep your water intake to mineral water or purified water. In a pinch, though, spring water, tap water, and just about any other kind of non-carbonated water will do.
HOW TO DO IT
The only thing you’ll need for this challenge — besides your preferred type of water — is a reusable water bottle to carry with you to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. Once you have that, you can get creative with the ways you make sure you’re properly hydrating. Here are a few of our favorite options:
Set an alarm for every half hour from 7am-9pm. Every time your alarm goes off, drink eight ounces of water (but avoid water consumption during meals), until you reach your required amount and hit your daily goal based off of your weight!
Leave bottles of water along your usual daytime routes so that you have them ready to drink as you follow your routine. Leave a few by your bed, in your car, out in your kitchen, and at your office so that you see them and remember to keep drinking.
Drink a glass of water as you follow your usual daily schedule. Wake up? Drink a glass of water. Take a shower? Drink a glass of water. Get to work? Drink a glass of water. Continue all day, until you hit your goal. Then pat yourself on the back, because those are the steps toward what we call achieving sustained peak performance.
Whether or not it’s one or all of the above three options, you need to make a hydration game plan. Hagerty says this is his #1 tip for his clients at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center. “I ask, ‘What’s your hydration game plan?’ You have to be proactive and look at your schedule for the day and see where you’re going to fit getting water in.”
THE BIG BENEFITS
It’s no secret that hydration can quench your thirst, but research has shown that when you’re properly hydrated, you’ll have more energy and less anxiety. Good hydration has also been proven to improve your cognitive performance, making you mentally sharper and improving your memory.
Physically, when you drink more water, you’ll lessen your chance of hydration-related headaches, but you’ll also benefit from increased blood circulation. On top of that, it can help your joints, muscles, and improve your pliability. And you don’t have to wait long to experience these benefits — once you start drinking more water, you’ll begin to feel lighter and more clear-headed. And after 12 days, not only will you have made proper hydration a habit, but you’ll also feel much more physically and mentally energetic, and your body will be digesting your food better. On top of that, you’ll notice a difference in how strong your muscles will feel, and how much more frictionless your joints will move.
So you completed your 12 day change — congratulations! You’re now on the path to being properly hydrated! But that doesn’t mean you’re done drinking water. In fact, there’s something you can do to amplify your hydration: add electrolytes! Electrolytes are minerals that our body needs, and often gets through our diets. But we also lose electrolytes through sweat, exercise, and even breathing, so it’s important to restore them. Once you’re drinking half of your body weight in water, the next step is to make sure that your body is getting all the benefits of that hydration, and to do that, you need to add electrolytes. Amp up your hydration routine by adding them to every sip of water you drink.