By Katie Thacker

Staying hydrated and drinking water is important for our bodies. The body as a whole depends on water to survive and function properly. Water is used in the body to help maintain the core temperature, lubricate your joints and help eliminate wastes.

Drinking plain water is best for keeping your body hydrated throughout the day. While other drinks such as soda, tea and coffee can help you stay hydrated, they also add extra calories to your daily intake because of the added sugars. Caffeinated drinks, fruit and vegetables juices and milk can also be added to the amount of water you drink each day. However caffeinated drinks should be consumed in moderation as they can cause frequent urination and/or jitteriness. Water can also be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as broth from soups.

Here are a few tips to help if staying hydrated proves to be difficult for you:

• Always keep a reusable water bottle with you and refill it with tap water throughout the day.

• Remember to drink water before, during and after your workout.

• Try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink if you do not like the taste of plain water.

• If you start to feel hungry or bored during the day, drink water. Drinking water instead of indulging on unhealthy snacks can help contribute to healthy weight loss.

• Drink water on a schedule if you are having trouble remembering to drink enough during the day.

Keeping your body hydrated is important so that you don’t become dehydrated. Being able to recognize when your body is dehydrated is important.

Here are some symptoms of dehydration to be mindful of:

• Headache.

• Urine that is darker than normal. Normally, urine should be colorless or light yellow.

• Little or no urine.

• Feeling lightheaded, dizzy or confused.

• Dry mouth or extreme thirst.

• Sleepiness or fatigue.

Water makes up more than half of each person’s body weight and you lose water through everyday activity. Each person loses water when they exercise, go to the bathroom, and even when they breathe. You should never wait until you start showing symptoms of dehydration to start keeping your body hydrated. Always remember to actively keep hydrated.

Katie Thacker, LPN, is an integrated nurse for A Kidz Clinic.

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