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Friday fitness: water matters

March 2, 2012

Welcome to Friday fitness! Every Friday I’m going to make a “this is why you’re fit” post, touching on an aspect of health and wellness. I plan to cover physical matters such as nutrition and  exercise, as well as mental and emotional topics like building positive habits.

This week, I want to talk about a good habit that will affect your ability to engage in your favorite active pursuits, the inner workings of your body, and even your appearance. There are no tricky moves involved, nothing to buy, and you can do it pretty much everywhere you go. I’m talking about drinking water, of course!

Staying hydrated is just as important as getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. This week, the Huffington Post demystified the “rules” of getting enough liquid in your system.

Just as you can drink too little water, you can over-saturate your system if you start guzzling H2O by the gallon. Everyone knows the 8 x 8 method (aim for 8 8-0z. glasses daily), but as with most health matters, it’s different for every person depending on your age, activity level, and a host of other factors.

The HuffPost article referenced something I’ve used since my days as a counselor at Girl Scout camp: the next time you have to use the restroom, take a quick glance at the color of your urine. During hikes or weekends spent camping in the woods, we’d frequently stop for water/bathroom breaks. As the campers headed off for the woods or latrines, we’d shout, “all clear?” “I’m clear, we’re clear, everybody’s clear!” they’d reply.

You can sound the all-clear for yourself with a look at this handy chart from the Boy Scouts of America, posted by Blisstree.

However, saying “stay hydrated” is one thing. Actually forming the habit is another! In a nation with a clean and plentiful water supply, it shouldn’t be a challenge to remember to sip water throughout the day. But we’re busy. And it can be hard to remember to keep the water flowing if you’re not engaging in physical activity.

One of my co-workers keeps a 32-oz. bottle at her desk, and makes sure she fills and finishes it twice throughout the day. I found that what works for me is having a cute and cheerful water bottle. I smile every time I see it:

Kick the dehydration habit!


It’s a fairly small bottle, holding about as much as a can of soda. That makes it the perfect size for my bag; it also means that I drain it fairly quickly, forcing me to stand up and walk away from my desk for a refill. As sitting all day is another common issue to avoid, having a task that keeps me hopping up frequently breaks two bad habits for the price of one.*

And I have to say, not only does drinking more water gives me a bit more energy, it helps protect my skin from the ravages of winter dryness.

Share with me– what’s your “this is why you’re fit” this week?

*Extra credit because this gets you moving whether the water is coming or going– I may have taken a bathroom break in the course of writing this post. Yes, mom, I washed my hands.

One Comment
  1. Jenn permalink

    I always remember the rhyme I learned in Israel lol. Peepee zehov zeh lo tov. Peepee lavan mitzuyan!

    I will say I cut down on trips to the nurse in the spring when my students don’t feel well by asking if they’d had anything to drink today

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