We focus so much on diet and exercise but often forget about one very important variable— hydration! Why is it so important to stay hydrated?

Your body depends on water for survival. Did you know that water makes up more than half of your bodyweight? Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Your body needs water to repair muscle tissue and help your hormones work properly. Water is essential in helping you reach your ultimate fitness goals and for overall health and longevity.

You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you exercise or if you have a fever. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become dehydrated. It is important to constantly be taking in fluids to avoid dehydration and the symptoms that go with it.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration. When dehydration occurs, there is not enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. I recommend women drink a minimum of two liters of fluids a day. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces per day. If you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 ounces per day. Taking in more water is an added bonus, but be sure to get in at least your minimum recommended amount. I aim to get in 3/4 to one gallon of water each day. If working out is a part of your everyday life, as I am sure it is, it is important to replenish fluids lost during exercise, so more than half our bodyweight in ounces is recommended.

Out of sight, out of mind… Keep a bottle of water with you at all times! Often we think we are hungry but really we are dehydrated and in need of fluids. Water will increase your body’s ability to burn calories and also acts as a detoxifier, allowing your body to get rid of waste products. When you think you are hungry, start by drinking your water and see if it may be dehydration. You would be surprised— loading up on your water can actually keep you away from the cookie jar!

It is common to have a hard time getting in your recommended amount of water because water is just so tasteless and boring. There are things you can do to make your water more exciting. Try a few of these suggestions and I guarantee getting in your water won’t be so bad after all.

Tricks to making water more exciting:

• Add fresh lime or lemons.
• Add whole fresh fruit such as berries, orange, apple slices or mango.
• Add fresh cucumbers (my absolute favorite).
• Add your favorite herb such as mint or cilantro by themselves or with your fresh fruit. Mint with a touch of lime is delicious!
• To aid in digestion, add fresh ginger with a touch of lime.

G-TIP: Get yourself a cute water bottle that you keep with you at all times. Often people just forget to drink their water. If you have water on hand at all times, you are more likely to remember to drink it. It is best to use a 32-ounce bottle so you can easily keep track of how much water you have had and how much more you have to go. Especially during the holiday season, be mindful of your water and be sure to get it in!