Some people just love drinking water. They say it’s super healthy for you, but … why? What’s so great about water?
Water is Essential to Life
Did you know that over half of your body is made of water? All of the things your body does, every minute of the day, things you don’t even think about… it all needs water to happen. Water keeps your brain thinking, your heart pumping, your lungs breathing, your muscles moving and your eyes blinking. Water makes each tiny cell grow in your body. It acts as your “air conditioner” to cool you off by sweating. It even cushions your brain and helps your body digest food. Without water, your body wouldn’t be able to survive.
How Much Water Do I Need?
You probably know that your body loses water every time you pee and when you’re sweating. But did you know you also lost water from breathing? That means that you’re constantly losing water, every minute of every day. You may have heard that you should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, but you actually might need more or less depending on what you’re doing. For instance, if you’re sitting around all day, you won’t need to drink as much water as you would if you were playing sports.
Want a foolproof way to be sure you’re getting enough water? Just look at your pee! If your pee is dark or vibrant in color, you probably need to drink more water. But if it’s light in color, you’re probably drinking enough.
I Feel … So … Tired…
If you don’t have enough water in your body, you may feel sleepy or sluggish, like you just want to lay around. Drink a glass of water for some energy! Have a headache? Feeling hungry? Well, that could be your body asking for more water. Is your mouth or skin dry? Want to do better on the athletic field? Have a big test coming up? Having trouble pooping? Drinking more water can help you with all of those things!
Make Your Water Exciting
Water is always the best choice, but it can get a little boring after awhile. Try making your water taste better by adding cut up fruit for flavor! You can make caffeine-free tea for a refreshing beverage. Or, drink sparkling or flavored water—but make sure those drinks don’t have too much sugar (real or fake).
You could also try eating your water–snacks like watermelon, oranges, pineapple, celery, spinach and green peppers contain plenty of water. Oranges and peppers are especially great as portable snacks, so next time you’re hungry, peel an orange or crunch on a fresh pepper. Your body will thank you!
Learn more about the benefits of water:
We all know the elements of healthy eating: get enough proteins, plenty of fresh vegetables, not too much sugars and fat. But we don’t always follow those rules. Where’s the line between healthy eating, unhealthy eating and straight-up eating disorders?
A healthy diet can help you maintain a proper body weight. Experts say that a healthy diet should:
- Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
- Be low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars
- Stay within your daily calorie needs
We’re all allowed a pass now and again to indulge in our favorite snacks, cakes or treats. But constant overeating, or undereating, is a problem.
Anorexia: Teens with anorexia are often extremely strict about which foods they eat, how much they eat, or they may even avoid eating altogether. Even when they’re abnormally thin, teens with anorexia often still consider themselves fat. Signs of anorexia may include obsessively counting calories or grams of fat; denied feelings of hunger; rapid or excessive weight loss; feeling cold, tired or weak; or other symptoms.
Bulimia: Bulimia nervosa is often characterized by a ‘binge and purge’ cycle, where the teen eats normally or overeats, then later purges by vomiting, using laxatives, fasting or engaging in excessive exercise. Signs of bulimia may include eating large amounts of food with no apparent change in weight; excessive exercise or fasting; frequent trips to the bathroom after meals; inappropriate use of laxatives; weakness or fatigue; or other symptoms.
Binge-Eating: Teens who indulge in binge-eating behaviors go through bouts of uncontrollable excessive eating, later followed by feelings of shame or guilt. Teens who binge eat are typically overweight, and signs of binge-eating include eating rapidly, eating in secret or when stressed, experimentation with different diets, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or other symptoms.
Who Should I Talk To?
If you’re concerned about your eating habits, we recommend you reach out to a Teen Health educator. You can text us confidentially at (478) 796-5359 and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Or call either of the Teen Health Center locations. We can help you identify an eating disorder or simply provide tips for continued healthy eating. Reach out today, we’re here ready to help!
Regular exercise and good eating habits are major keys to reaching or staying at a healthy weight. We often think that exercise and good eating habits require a lot of effort and planning; but that’s not true! The best way to work them into your life is by making small changes that gradually become part of your routine.
60 Minutes of Movement
You should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day. Note the word “activity”: it doesn’t have to mean doing complicated exercises or hitting the gym every day. The key is to get your body moving for at least an hour a day.
Eat Well … Don’t Diet!
One reason diets don’t work is because they make you think of foods as “good” or “bad,” when the truth is everything is OK in moderation. Diets also encourage people to “give up” certain foods, which can make you feel deprived. In fact, diets often deplete our bodies of important nutrients!
The best way to stay at a healthy weight (or lose weight if you need to) is to make healthy food choices daily. You should eat a variety of foods. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat. And remember: Abs are made in the kitchen!
Healthy Eating and Exercise Tips
Ready to get moving? Use these tips to stay healthy and active. It’s OK to fail, just remember to pick yourself up and keep going!
- Start today.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk or bike when you’re traveling to nearby places.
- When you do drive, park farther away from the building.
- Limit your screen time to no more than 2 hours a day
- Try playing interactive games that get you moving.
- Figure out what type of exercise interests you.
- Alternate the kinds of activities you do so they always feel fresh.
- Drink more water.
- Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Make healthier fast-food choices or avoid fast-food places whenever you can.
- Keep healthy foods on hand.
- Eat only when you’re hungry.
- Eat a healthy breakfast every day.
- Use fitness apps to help you stay on track.
Need more information? Check out these resources on staying active and healthy: