Didn’t humans just evolve to drink water when they are thirsty and that is good enough?
I used to be squarely in that camp. It makes sense. If more hydration was better for me, my body would tell me through thirst, and I would drink the right amount at the right time.
Over the last decade or so, I watched the water bottle become the ubiquitous companion for so many people. Runners and hikers began carrying CamelBacks and sucking water from tubes at the same time cubicle workers sipped from 32oz HydroFlasks and Yetis next to their keyboards.
I wondered what happened to cause this massive shift in our collective view of hydration? And what’s the big deal about hydration anyway?
What started as a casual curiosity quickly became something of an obsession. A good deal of my research took me to an organization called Hydration for Health and their scientific papers and partners. They are at the forefront of hydration research and have helped me to understand how humans have evolved to adapt to a wide variety of hydration levels and still function reasonably well.
To start, it seems there is little dispute that most humans spend a significant part of their lives mildly to severely under-hydrated with long and short-term deleterious effects. While most laymen don’t know the specifics, people almost universally agree that drinking water is “good” for you.
Even more so, almost all of the experts agree that improving daily hydration habits is one of the easiest ways to significantly improve your physical and cognitive health. While it is clear that hydration is driven by habits that each of us learn, usually at an early age, it’s also clear that improving those habits, just like better dieting or exercise, is very doable and can have dramatic improvements on your health.
But how much water should you drink, what is the optimal schedule and how do I learn and create a healthy hydration habit?
First, a quick recap on the health benefits of drinking water...
Water is THE most essential nutrient that humans consume.
Meeting optimum hydration status is the easiest path to healthy and effortless living. Why? Because up to 75% of the body consists of water and it’s one nutrient that supports the functioning of every cell, tissue, organ, and organ system in your body.
Here are some other reasons why you need to hydrate constantly throughout the day with a healthy hydration habit. Water works to:
- Regulate your body temperature
- Protect your organs and tissues
- Lubricate and cushion your joint
- Aid digestion
- Transport oxygen and nutrients around the body
- Prevent constipation
- Remove waste through bowel movement, sweating, and urination
- Reduce cardiac workload
How much water should you be drinking daily?
As convenient as it may be to follow a simple hydration rule that helps you meet your daily water requirement, your water needs are highly individualized. There are a lot of factors that may influence how much water you should and shouldn’t take. Some of these factors include:
- Health Status
- Activity Level
- Pregnancy (Breastfeeding)
Why you should be drinking water constantly throughout the day...
Since all of these factors will change throughout the day and for each individual, supporting good hydration means regularly drinking water throughout the day to replenish lost fluid. Spreading your intake across the day helps prevent overhydration by drinking too much water at once trying to “catch up”.
Dehydration happens when you lose more water than you consume, through vomiting, urination, sweating, et cetera and you don’t replenish it to meet up with your regular body water content. Research suggests that even the mildest form of dehydration may trigger cognitive, cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, and metabolic performance changes.
Some popular signs of dehydration are: tiredness, lightheadedness, unclear thinking, sleepiness, dry mouth/lips/eyes, headaches, dark yellow urine, thirst, mood change, constipation, and overheating. The most obvious of theses markers, however, are thirst and dark yellow urine.
The PÜL SmartCap helps you track and regulate your water intake
By now, you may be confident that a healthy hydration habit is key to good health and longevity. But understanding your hydration needs all the time may be a daunting task. How do you keep up?
Here’s some good news: You don’t have to do it alone. PÜL SmartCap is your perfect hydration assistant on your journey to establishing healthy hydration habits. It does all the work for you: PÜL's SmartCap and hydration algorithm (Hydrithm) customizes a specific dynamic goal for you each day, and each hour, based on a variety of factors including:
- Exercise / Activity level (it can monitor your fitness tracker through Apple Health Kit)
- Local Weather (it monitors local temperature and humidity)
- Recurring daily drinks (ie - morning cup of coffee, evening glass of wine, etc)
- Other factors
Then it breaks this daily dynamic goal into small increments throughout the day and reminds you to drink through a variety of customizable notifications including the training LED on the cap which lightly glows red if you are behind your goal and then turns blue when you catch up.
Most users find that they have formed a new healthy hydration habit within a few days and they maintain it, even if the bottle is left at home or not available. Hydration is a habit and our PÜL SmartCap creates great hydration habits very quickly.