This is the first new periodical post I’ll be writing in a “how-to” manner. Given the insane extremes the DC area is experiencing with the weather, I figured I’d start pretty basic and talk about methods you can incorporate into your daily routine to make sure you’re getting enough water. Of course this is inspired by my last post in which I ranted a bit on the lack of toughness of those people who use extreme weather as an excuse to not be active or enjoy the great outdoors. One of my pointers in that post was to prepare better; this does NOT mean drink a crap load of water while in the middle of a workout to make up for your lack of preparation. What this DOES mean, is making sure you’re getting in proper liquids on a regular basis, and even more on days leading up to more strenuous activities. If you are anything like me, you probably tend to do a little more than planned on a lot of days; so, understand this little bit about yourself and, yep, you guessed it, drink even more water!
But this is where a super basic, seemingly easy action gets a bit tricky. I will concede a little and admit that yes, it can be tough to consume tons of water, and yes, if it’s not a habit for you, you’ll probably just forget to do so. So, I will offer my advice on how to form the habit to drink enough water to avoid basic dehydration and cramping.
Get a LARGE water bottle:
Whole Foods sells pretty awesome gallon water bottles. I fill it up each night before bed and my goal is to consume that, then another full fill-up before bed the next night (for those of you like me who suck at math, that means I am taking in at least 2 gallons of water each and every day!). I suggest starting off by drinking one full gallon every 24 hours. The greatest positive to this method, and why I use this one, is that you have a large amount of water with you at all times. It’s also very easy to gauge how much you’ve consumed because you’re not counting multiple re-fills which tends to be risky because many people lose count. The negative aspect of this one is that you need to lug around a massive gallon water jug around with you everywhere. For some people that’s just not “cool”. Well, I say get over yourself on that one, but, if you insist that it just won’t work, here are a couple other options!
Get two 1-liter water bottles:
Keep one in your car at all times if you work at an office, or, in a main room of your house of you work at home. The other bottle, keep with you at all times. Keeping it your bag is the best bet, but you could also just keep it at your desk, or directly near the spot you spend most of your time. Your goal would be to re-fill the bottle you keep close to you 3 times, and the extra bottle finish once. The reason for the two bottles is that it is very common for people to leave the space they spend the most time in and go somewhere. If you already have a bottle of water there, you won’t forget to bring one with you! The positive on this one is that you will have some form of easily accessible water throughout the day in your two main “hang out” areas”. Negatives are that you’ll forget the bottles, or to refill the bottles. Also, if you are the type that takes public transportation to work, or bikes or walks, it is a bit tougher to make sure there is a bottle in the proper places. I say, just take a few minutes and think about the two places you spend most of your time, and put the bottles there.
An additional thought on this one (thanks to my lovely girl Lindsey) is to get that gallon jug from above, bring it to work or wherever you might be, then keep a more professional type bottle with you that you continuously fill from the gallon jug. Then you still get that visual cue of how much you are drinking, but you do not have to carry around that massive container.
Get a lot of bottles!
This one is basically for the person who really, really has a hard time getting water in. Find one time of the day that is dedicated to water fill-up (could be right before bed, first thing in the morning, any time really, just make it a set time each and every day). Fill up 8 1-liter bottles, or even 16 ½-liter bottles and place them in specific areas throughout your daily routine: kitchen, car, bag, bathroom, office, gym locker, conference room, office kitchen, etc. Each time you see one of your water bottles, drink some of it! This is easily the most chaotic of choices, but, for some of you out there it may just be exactly what you need. If water is right at your fingertips everywhere you turn, you are bound to drink more.
Time it baby:
My last, but totally not least bit of advice is to set a timer that you have on your person at all times. Wake up, drink a glass of water and start you timer. Have it go off every hour (or every half hour on days before known active days) and get yourself a glass of water within a minute of that happening. I am pretty sure you will quickly get into the habit of having water very close by with this one; it’ll make your life so much easier.
The moral of the story folks is to always drink more water. I have read over and over again that many people are way more dehydrated than they think. And when it’s crazy hot out there, I am willing to bet that most people you see throughout the day are dehydrated. People passing out and/or headed to the hospital from heat exhaustion, dehydration and so on are all victims of poor planning, not bad weather. Remember what they say: do something 21 times and it becomes a habit (I’ve read that all over the place, most recently in Tim Ferriss’s “4-Hour Body”), so, it shouldn’t be all that hard to form the habit of drinking more water! You’ll be amazed at the effects.
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