If You're Thirsty, You're Already Dehydrated: Our 5-Day Hydration Challenge Can Help

Photo: Treasures & Travels

When it comes to meeting your wellness goals, what do you do to press ahead? Whether it’s waking up an hour earlier to get your morning sweat in, taking a few minutes in the middle of the day to meditate, or reaching for a handful of nuts instead of an unhealthy snack, you’re finding ways to keep your health journey on track. To keep you inspired, mindbodygreen and Evolution Fresh invite you to join our #PressAheadChallenge series, continuing with a focus on hydration—because our bodies simply depend on it.

For the next week, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for advice that will empower you to make more nutritious decisions. Here’s the full challenge.

Water makes up as much as 60 percent of our body mass, and understandably so since it’s required in all of our organs, tissues, and cells for proper functioning. So it's no surprise that staying hydrated is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies.

The thing is, you might not even realize when you’ve entered dehydration territory: Thirst is not the first indicator that you need more H2O, so if you’re feeling thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated. Mild dehydration starts when you lose as little as 1 to 3 percent of your body’s water content from normal reasons like metabolism, waste removal, or excessive sweating from a workout or a hot summer day. And it starts to impair everything from your energy levels and mood to your cognition and mental stamina—it even disrupts your bathroom schedule.

Take this five-day hydration challenge to help keep your body performing at its best all day.

Day 1: Figure out how much water you need to drink in a day.

Despite the eight-glasses-a-day rule we always hear, there’s no universal requirement for everyone’s daily intake. A general guideline is about 11 cups (91 ounces) for women and about 15 cups (125 ounces) for men. The amount you need really depends on how much you eat and weigh, what the weather is, and how active you are, so make adjustments day to day (the color of your urine can tell you whether you’re adequately hydrated).

If you’re working out, aim to add 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes you're hitting the gym. Check out this calculator to see how much water you need if you’re doing something even more physical, like a long run, hike, or bike ride.

Day 2: Start your day hydrated with a glass of lemon water.

Photo: Suzanne Clements

After a night of sleep (aka a long period without any water consumption), downing a glass of water rehydrates your body, plus it also gives your metabolism a boost and helps flush out toxins. While you’re at it, squeeze a few slices of lemon into your glass of water to get a jump-start on your daily dose of vitamin C, which has immune-boosting properties and delivers antioxidants. The citrus adds a little flavor and helps rev up your digestive system.

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Day 3: Rethink your drink and get creative.

Finding a delicious new way to hydrate throughout the day is as simple as sipping a cup of iced herbal tea at lunch, making coconut-water ice cubes to drop into smoothies, juices, or your water bottle, or infusing your ice water with chopped fruits and berries or herbs for an earthier flavor. Check out more creative ways to hydrate here.

Day 4: Get hydrated ahead of your sweat session—in addition to during and after.

Hydrating before a workout can help keep your electrolyte levels where they need to be to support your muscles during exercise and can give you an extra energy boost. But skip the sugary sports drinks for healthier options. Try adding Himalayan sea salt to your water bottle, and post-workout, rehydrate with a refreshing Evolution Fresh® Watermelon Juice to get a hit of potassium and calcium—key electrolytes that your body loses during a rigorous sweat.

Day 5: Add hydrating foods to one of your meals.

Remember, our hydration needs aren’t just met with help from a water bottle. About 20 percent of our water intake comes from the food we eat. Many fruits and vegetables in their raw state are comprised mostly of water—cucumbers, cauliflower, spinach, bell peppers, and strawberries, for example, are all over 90 percent water—and some hydrating foods like avocado even deliver skin-boosting benefits thanks to its healthy fats.

Make a super-hydrating salad of your favorite greens with avocado slices, tomatoes, and peppers, and top it off with lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper. Go for a raw, whole-foods-based meal of hydrating foods earlier in the day, like lunch, to get the most from H2O’s benefits.

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