It is one of those discoveries from military life that rippled out to benefit society at large. The best way to hydrate is continuously. Years of experience in extremely hot, dry climates were enough to shift the military from more than a hundred years of issuing canteens – or “water bottles” as the British still call them – to now issuing durable plastic, wearable bladders equipped with tubes for continual sipping. These Camelbak hydration packs have been a fixture of military equipment for more than a decade, because desert experience made one simple truth unavoidable: The best way to stay hydrated is to not get thirsty. “If you’re thirsty, it’s too late,” many a sergeant has instructed the troops.

If you think that wearing a Camelbak would not be great business or social attire, you have a point. Experts and pro athletes suggest carrying a re-usable water bottle with you to facilitate sipping throughout the day. Far from a quirky habit, people recognize the practice now as a sign of well-being. Perhaps the first friend we knew who carried water with her this way was a gorgeous ex-ballerina, who used a designer sling to carry her bottle. As far as we could see, nobody ever accused her of not being cool.

An unexpected assist for staying hydrated is to add more fruits and non-starchy vegetables to your meals. Not only do these helpful foods contain water themselves, but they demand less water to digest, turning carbohydrates to usable energy more efficiently.

Another way to connect a healthy diet to hydration is to use “hunger” as a signal to drink water. Our body-mind connection – so reliable in other ways – can give a head-fake when it comes to hydration. Often the need for water comes disguised as a craving for a snack. Try making that “snack” an 8-oz. drink of water and notice how satisfied you feel. Just think of the benefits for your calorie intake, too.

Drink Before You Exercise

Another tip about using “when” as a reminder to hydrate is to remember to drink water before you exercise. Few of us forget water after a run or a workout. Experienced athletes remember it before, too. And speaking of before, make it a practice to drink a glass of water before you order at a restaurant. Building cues like this for regular “use occasions” into your life is a continual, repetitive way to help you enjoy all the benefits of keeping your body properly hydrated.

And what’s best to drink for hydration? The obvious answer happens to be true in this case. Nothing beats water itself for staying hydrated. And let’s face it, water is the principal ingredient in all the more advanced solutions, too. Some of those are expected, such as Gatorade, and others might be surprising. The problem with Gatorade is high sugar content, so its reduced-sugar version, G2, is something to consider. Because electrolytes are what made Gatorade special, consider electrolyte-infused water, such as Smartwater, instead.

An unexpected answer to hydration for grownups is Pedialyte. You might say, “It’s not just for babies anymore.” In fact, Pedialyte is an advanced, medical-grade hydration formula that contains potassium, sodium, and chloride that will re-balance your body’s sugar and electrolyte balance.

As a family medical practice, we are interested and involved in any facet of life’s balance that brings you a sense of well-being. If you could use an ally in this quest, just call us at 843-815-6468.