It’s a double-edged sword: you know you need to keep hydrated, but drinking water can turn into frequent bathroom breaks, which can cut productivity.
Having said that, dehydration can lead to a host of other problems, like kidney stones, muscle cramps, and even a mental fatigue that mimics driving while under the influence.
Now that it’s summer, the need to stay cool and hydrated is even more important. While your truck’s A/C may keep you cool, temperature-wise, its effects are actually quite dehydrating on your body.
Many sources say that you need about 2 liters of water per day to maintain your bodily systems (don’t forget, the body is made up of 60% water), but you may need more depending on the amount of exertion you’re doing, temperature, or what medications you’re on.
If you feel thirsty, you’re probably dehydrated already, so the best bet is to hydrate slowly, in small amounts, over the course of the day. Also, look out for warning signs, like a dry mouth, mental fogginess or fatigue, headache, and especially pay attention to the colour of your urine. Darker coloured-urine means you’re not drinking enough.
Here are some tips to keep you happy and hydrated this summer:
1. Measure out your daily allotment in the morning. Add ice if you like to keep it cold, or store it in a large, insulated container. Then you can refill a smaller bottle at intervals, but you always know if you have had your 2 liters that day.
2. Add flavour. If you hate drinking plain water, add some interest! You can infuse your water with fruit (berries are great), citrus, or even vegetables (cucumbers are nice). You can add a little fruit juice if that helps. You can even purchase special water bottles that have a center cavity for fruit infusions. You’ll find a whole bunch of “recipes” for flavoured water here, here and also here.
3. Technology is your friend. Download an app like Daily Water or Waterlogged to remind you to drink up. You just put in the amount of water you want to drink per day, and set intervals. The app will remind you to drink. A low-tech version of this is to mark intervals with times on the side of your water bottle with permanent marker to keep you on track.
4. Snack on high-water-content foods. Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, oranges and cucumbers all have high water content, and make great, healthy snacks to take on the road. They will also help to keep you hydrated.
5. Add some bubbles. It’s probably better to stay away from pop, but if you really like bubbles, there are lots of calorie-free (and sometimes even flavoured) carbonated waters on the market. To save money, purchase a Sodastream and make your own.
6. Get a water bottle that works for you. It’s important that it’s BPA free, and it should be big enough to hold 500 ml of water. Wide-mouthed versions aren’t great for drivers, because of the possibility of spilling. When driving, water bottles with straws or ones with pop-up sport caps work the best.
Drink up! And Happy Summer!