Techniques for getting enough

Monitoring your hydration level is different than staying hydrated.  This is much trickier, and depending on your personal situation may be difficult.  Regardless of your circumstances, there are things you can do to stay hydrated.  As I mention these techniques, it is intended that they are all used together although I will cover each independently.  Another note is that these techniques will vary with the season.  In the summer, of course you will drink more than in the winter, especially if you are frequently outside.

The number one way to stay hydrated is to just drink all the time.  A lot of people who work in office settings keep a bottle of water at their desks and drink it throughout the day.  Your situation may render this more difficult.  However, there are solutions to such cases.  For example, if you work outside, say construction, buy a large water container and bring it to work every day full of water.  If you drive a lot, keep water in the car.  Whatever the case, it is important to drink throughout the day, not just when you are thirsty.  Remember, your body needs water more than food, and you eat at least a few times a day, so it makes sense that you should drink at least as often as you eat.

A method that I have used for years to stay hydrated (in addition to the above) is to drink after every bathroom use.  I always take a minimum of 4 “gulps” of water, but more if I am working, hot, or otherwise feel the need.  The idea is that if you always drink after you use the bathroom, your body will have enough water at the time and dump the excess in your bladder.  So automatically your urine will be more likely to be clear.  Since it also adds more water to your bladder, you will need to use the bathroom sooner, and when you finish you will drink more water.  Doing this almost automatically creates a situation where you are always hydrated.  As you implement this technique, you will learn how many “gulps” (or how much water) works best for you in different situations.

Another technique is to drink a sizeable amount of water first thing in the morning.  Remember, your body loses water even when you are not engaged in physical activities.  After 6-9 hours of sleep you can lose a substantial amount of water.  Consequently a nice big jolt of water first thing in the morning will get your body started in the right direction.  I would suggest a good 6 “gulps” or more.

How to test hydration

Hydration, or the amount of water flowing through your body, can have a huge impact on your body’s function.  When you are dehydrated (lacking water in your system) you entire body is affected; muscles, organs, and your brain.  So how do you tell if you have enough water in you?

The best indicator is to check the color of your urine.  If it is dark yellow, you are dehydrated; if it is clear then you are not.  Don’t confuse this with cloudy yellow however.  When you take more B vitamins than your body needs (which is fine since they are all water soluble), they will come out in your urine in a cloudy yellow form.

Another way to check your hydration level is to monitor how you feel.  If you are thirsty, for example, you are already dehydrated, even if just a little.  This is more subjective than the “pee test” however.