Courtesy of Hope Zvara, Mother Trucker Yoga:
It can feel like drinking water is a difficult task, especially if you're a truck driver. I mean, who wants to haul all that water around, and potentially make more stops than you want, all in the name of hydration?
A truck driver friend once said to me, "Truck Drivers live on the verge of dehydration."
Drinking fluids, including water, often means more stops. But what if those stops could mean fewer health problems? What if that same liquid you are plotting against could be the missing link to improving your health and wellbeing?
Would you ever try to move out for a long haul with little to no fuel? Heck no! Let's consider treating our bodies the same way. A lack of fuel in your truck can cause significant problems to the engine and even cause a possible accident, affecting other vehicles on the road too.
A lack of sufficient fluid in the body can temporarily confuse you and put yourself and others on the road for injury. When severe, dehydration can lead to a rapid or irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, fainting and even death. Getting enough water affects every system in your body. Considering our body is nearly 60 percent water, it seems logical that we keep those rivers and lakes from drying up.
Living a life dehydrated is as dangerous as driving your truck on fumes, low oil and an engine that isn't working optimally. It's a risk most drivers won't take. It's time you reduce the risks as a driver, but first, you have to know what they are.
Common Signs of Dehydration:
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin that doesn't spring back when pinched
- Dark yellow urine (however, vitamins and certain foods can also discolor urine)
- Leg cramps
- Hard stool
The signs listed above vary from person to person and may also be caused by other problems not discussed in this article. No matter what, it never hurts to get a little bit more water in, especially if you can't remember the last time you drank any.
How Much Water Do You Need?
It can vary from person to person, but ideally, we need half our body weight in ounces. Or if you like math, .6 x your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 pounds, then you need 75 ounces of water per day.
Don't be scared. When you break that down, it's not that much. That's just over four 20 ounce water bottles each day. If you smartly fuel your body, that can look like one once you wake up, downing 20 ounces of water before you even put your pants on. That way, as you prepare to roll out, your body has a chance to move things along. Bonus, staying hydrated will help your bowels work more optimally. That means less constipation.
Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and wellbeing, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day. Our organs cannot function when dehydrated, which includes our colon and kidneys. Imagine if drinking more water could improve how you feel each day?
When we ride on empty and our body needs to go number two, our colon will pull water from the stool, leading to a more painful experience and dreaded constipation. Many drivers buy water by the case and travel with it in their trucks, but next time you are at a TA, Petro or TA Express and you walk by the cold drinks, consider a large bottle of water to quench your thirst.
Improving Your Water Intake
For those of you who aren't on the water wagon quite yet, why not trick yourself into drinking more water? Swap out those sweet teas and lemonades for water with added flavor. There are dozens of flavor sticks or powders to choose from. Just make sure they don't have aspartame in them. That way, your body is drinking in the good, for all your organs' sake.
Struggling to Ditch Soda?
Try fizzy water to get the bubbles without calories and sugar. The best thing is, more and more truck stops are now selling these seltzers for you to enjoy. Soda is detrimental to your health; just one soda a day for one month leaves you consuming 455 teaspoons of sugar. That's over four pounds of sugar. Isn't it time hydration comes without consequences? Plus, drinking more water instead of soda can promote weight loss.
There's a reason only eight percent of people follow through with New Year's resolutions. It's because they bite off more than they can chew. Like most resolutions, drinking water is a habit. For you, it may be new, so start small. How about adding one more bottle than what you usually drink today? And then next week a second, and the following a third. You may be surprised at how much easier the thought and action of drinking water becomes. Imagine when you add in small simple moves to the mix, you’ll be feeling better than ever.
Finally, if you are a coffee drinker, coffee does not count towards your daily water consumption. If you do drink coffee, consider a one to two ratio. Due to caffeine, every coffee cup requires two cups of water to replace the natural diuretic you just ingested.
Like anything, drinking water is a habit. And if it is a new habit for you, start with a small addition into your day, like swapping out a soda for a bottle of water or beginning each day with warm water or a cup of tea. Stick to that until it is a new habit, and then go from there.