We all know drinking plenty of water is the ultimate form of hydration. We may even force ourselves to drink more water during the day than we actually desire. Hydration is essential to ensuring proper fluid and electrolyte balance, decreasing fatigue, increasing productivity, removing toxins from our bodies, moistening and hydrating our joints, fueling our muscles, keeping skin clear and healthy, and so much more! But is simply drinking water enough to provide the ultimate level of hydration for our bodies?
Within our complex anatomical systems are many areas that need to be hydrated. These areas include our muscles, fascia, organs, and cells. Just as important as these anatomical structures are the spaces in between them; the space between joints, muscles, and cells. These spaces need hydration too, but sometimes can’t access it as easily. Don’t be overwhelmed by this thought!
Here are some simple “micro-movements” (or tiny stretches) you can do to help ensure the water we drink enters all the right places and provides OPTIMAL HYDRATION.
These micro-movements can be practiced throughout the day, while at your desk, or even on the train. The following stretches are focused on the cervical spine, bringing hydration and energy flow to the neck, head, and brain. Who doesn’t need a little brain boost during the day?
Supportive Stretches for Optimal Hydration
Practice these stretches a few minutes after drinking a glass of water and notice if you feel any different.
- Ear to Shoulder: Start by slowly moving your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for 4 seconds. Return to head to its upright position. Then touch the left ear to the left shoulder. Hold for 4 seconds. In doing so, you should feel a slight stretch on the opposite side of your neck.
- Chin to Chest: Bring your chin to your chest, and hold for 5 seconds. You may feel a slight stretch in the back of your neck. Slowly, lift your head up and back, gaze up at the sky (or ceiling,) and take a deep breath. Bring your head back to a neutral position.
- Figure Eight; Leading with the chin, create a figure 8 motion with your chin. It may feel awkward at first but continue slowly with the figure 8 motion and then repeat, going in the opposite direction.
These micro-stretches work to gently open up the space in between vertebrae, muscles, and cells, allowing our water intake to hydrate the spaces that are so vital to our overall health and wellness.
Adding hydrating foods into our diet is also essential for maintaining optimal hydration. The top hydrating foods include watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumbers, oranges, grapefruit, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, coconut water, and broths for soup which are great to incorporate in hot weather.