It seems silly, or at least unnecessary, to post a blog reminding people to drink water – something that we’ve been doing all of our lives.  Yet, almost every day people wind up in hospital emergency rooms with cases of dizziness, fainting, muscle fatigue, confusion and other symptoms of reduced cognitive functioning because of dehydration.  In extreme cases, it can cause organ failure and death.  The problem is especially acute during the summer – when we sweat more, especially if we are physically active.  But it doesn’t have to be that way if we pay attention to staying adequately hydrated.

The human body is made up of 55-60% water, so it stands to reason that, since we lose water through basic human activities like breathing, sweating, and urinating, we have to consistently replenish the body’s water.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a great warning system to let us know how much water we are losing; we are already dehydrated by the time that we become thirsty.

Staying adequately hydrated is an exercise in self-disciple.  While there are various formulas to guide you in staying hydrated – such as 8 cups a day or half your body weight in ounces – I encourage people to make it easy on themselves by carrying a water bottle throughout the day, and sip from it whenever you think about it.  It may not give you the precise correct amount, but you’re unlikely to get dehydrated using that approach.

It’s important to recognize that not all fluids are created equal, and water is clearly the best.  It is important to note that drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine have a diuretic effect which can actually contribute to dehydration.  While an argument can be made for drinks with electrolytes if you are doing significant exercise, water will work fine for almost everyone.  Unfortunately, some areas have some foul-tasting water, and it can get pretty expensive to purchase bottled water on a continuing basis, but the taste of most tap water can be enhanced by adding a squeeze of citrus or a slice of any kind of fruit to your reusable water bottle.

We sometimes have a tendency to underestimate the value of something so ordinary as water.  It’s important to not do so with water.  The consequences of dehydration can be catastrophic, and the consequences of adequate hydration can be lifesaving.

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D. Psychologist, Educator, Author, Podcaster

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D., is a positive health psychologist, coach, author, podcaster, educator, consultant, and speaker. He has been in practice for more than five decades, including 25 years as Director of Psychology at the world-famous Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University. As an innovative thought leader in the field, he has developed the concepts of THE MENTAL HEALTH GYM, GOAL-ACHIEVING PSYCHOTHERAPY (GAP), THE TYPE P PERSONALITY, and REJUVENAGING®.

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