We all know that water is good for us, but often the reasons are a little fuzzy. And even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that many people form. Unintentionally, we end up guzzling soda, fruit juice, coffee, tea, and milk, among other drinks. Or just as often, we don’t drink enough fluids, and we become dehydrated — and that isn’t good for our health (or our dancing!)
Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired — even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated — and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.
Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it’s simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.
Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.
Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
Being dehydrated can severely hamper your dancing or other athletic activities. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.
- How much water per day?
This is a debatable question. What’s clear is that the old recommendation of “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” isn’t right, for several reasons: that amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages; it also ignores a person’s body weight, which is an important factor in figuring the amount; it also varies if you are sick or exercise. It’s also not good to just drink when you’re thirsty — you’re already dehydrated by then. Best is to form a routine: drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, a glass in between meals, and be sure to drink before, during and after exercise.
- Carry a bottle
A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. Bringing your water bottle to dance class is great, but drinking ALL day is even better!
- Set a reminder
Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don’t forget to drink water.
- Substitute water
If you would normally get a soda or lemonade, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water if you really feel like a special treat.
Dancing can help make you want to drink water more. It’s not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you dance or do other exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you’re going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time, so that it will get through your system in time, and again, drink during and after exercise as well.
- Track it Healthy Water Habit Log
It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it — it increases awareness and helps you ensure that you’re staying on track. Keep a little log (it can be done on an index card or a notebook), which can be as simple as a tick mark for each glass of water you drink. We are providing a tool for you here to download and print… best of luck as you get started forming your healthy new water habit today!