We all know the importance of drinking water: it regulates your body temperature, flushes waste and lubricates joints, among many other things. Since water makes up about 60% of the body, replenishing it properly is a must.
The general recommendation is to drink at least eight glasses of water each day; however, drinking water whenever you’re thirsty is a good start. Active individuals or those who spend a lot of time outdoors likely need to drink more than the recommended amount to stay hydrated.
This information is all well-known, but there’s something else to consider. In Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic approach to health and wellness that works to find a balance between the mind, body and spirit, it’s believed that the way in which you drink water is an important aspect of hydration. So what does this mean?
Drink Room Temperature Water
It’s believed that cold water will shut down the body’s “digestive fire,” a term that represents the stomach acid, digestive enzymes and bile in the GI tract that the body uses in the digestive process. Consuming water at room temperature, or even warm water depending on your preferences, can help the body digest properly while improving circulation and relaxing muscles, which could ease cramping and constipation. It’s also thought that warm water is easier for the body to absorb.
Another technique to help your body better absorb water and the nutrients that it contains is to take your time with small sips. Ayuervedic teachings say to sip, swallow and breathe. If you notice that you’re constantly running to the restroom as you work toward your daily hydration goals, take a look at how quickly you’re drinking and adjust accordingly.
Sit Down to Sip
It may be easier to take your time when you take a seat. When you sit down, your muscles and nervous system relax, which ultimately helps your organs work properly. The kidneys can better pace the body’s filtration system, and the stomach receives the water gradually, allowing the entire body to be better replenished.
Know When to Drink
Drink a glass or two of water when you wake up. In addition to rehydrating after going a full eight hours without any fluids, you may also experience less bloating, more energy and a smaller appetite when you start your day by hydrating.
Also, drink water when you eat to aid in digestion, especially if you’re having a fiber-heavy meal. Fiber absorbs water as it moves through the digestive system, promoting regularity. Also be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise. Have a glass of water at least 30 minutes before moderate exercise and continue hydrating after to replace the fluid you lost through sweating.
When it comes to hydration, pay attention to your body as you practice proper hydration techniques.