bottled water on ice

Water is essential to health and wellness. As your body's principal chemical component, water comprises over half of your body weight--about 60 percent. But the amount of water in your body does not stay constant. You lose water each day through normal bodily functions, such as breathing, perspiring, urinating, and bowel movements (defecating/moving bowels).

It's important that you take steps to replenish your body's water supply in order to stay properly hydrated. This becomes even more important in the summertime, when warmer temperatures cause you to lose water at a faster rate through perspiration, especially during physical activity. Dehydration is a condition that occurs when your body doesn't have enough water to function properly. Given the crucial role water plays in your bodily processes, being even slightly dehydrated can leave you feeling drained.

Meeting your daily water needs is easier than you might think. With a little effort and planning, you can ensure that your whole family stays well-hydrated this summer.

Get Your Fill: Use a Water Bottle
To stay properly hydrated, you need to drink sufficient amount of water throughout the day. Water intake requirements differ for men and women: while men require around 2-2.5 liters of total beverages each day, women need about 2.0 liters. Children and adolescents need slightly less. They'll get their fill with 1.5-2.0 liters a day. .

Ensure that each family member drinks their fair share by packing a water bottle on daily outings, whether to work, school, or weekend breaks. Water bottles are available in several different sizes and styles. Pick one up and measure how many glasses (1 glass equals 250 ml) it will hold. Then determine how many refills are needed for each family member to drink the recommended amount. Encourage kids to keep their water bottles handy, and remind them to keep refilling all day long.

Plan Water Breaks
Summer trips and travels are exciting, but it's easy to forget to drink water during a lengthy journey. To keep this from happening, schedule water breaks into the day. For example, if you're going on a family vacation to a mountain, announce a planned water stop at the halfway point. Or if a long car ride lies ahead, plan a break to refuel and rehydrate every two hours.

You can also improve your family's hydration habits by working water breaks into your daily routine. Ask your kids to take water breaks at predetermined times in their schedules, such as during their school breaks or before a sports game. And remember to sip from your own water bottle at regular intervals as well.

Leave Reminders
Simply supplying a water bottle may not be enough to keep all of your family members drinking water. Senior family members may be especially forgetful about how much fluid they need to drink. In such cases, it can help to leave well-placed reminder notes for family members to see--whether taped to a lunch box, refrigerator, medicine bottle, or mirror. With a little encouragement, the reluctant water drinkers in your family may soon develop better habits of their own.

HealthAhead Hint: Soak Up Water's Benefits
The health benefits of water can't be underestimated. All of your body's systems depend on it. Water flushes toxins from your organs, provides cellular nutrients, and keeps tissues properly moistened. When you are even mildly dehydrated, you can feel more fatigued than you should. So take the time to properly hydrate your family this summer - and enjoy everything the season has to offer.