All posts by Brigette Goodale

Does exercise make you eat more?

 

After an hour in the gym you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. Less so two hours later, when you’ve demolished half the fridge. But the relationship between exercise and weight loss is complicated: not all exercise stimulates appetite to the same extentAnd individuals vary in how much weight they lose from exercise.

The solution

This latest research, a small study of 16 healthy young men, measured the effects of different types of exercise on levels of acylated ghrelin, a hormone in the blood that is thought to increase appetite. The researchers provided standardised meals after the exercise and asked the men to rate their hunger levels. The study showed that the more intense and long the exercise, the more the levels of acylated ghrelin were suppressed. Those who ran for 90 minutes still had lower levels an hour after exercise. They also felt less hungry for longer. Shorter, more intense workouts reduced hormone levels more than easy jogging but the men still felt peckish a bit earlier than those who ran for longer.

Prof David Stensel of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, one of the authors of the study, says that their previous work does not show that people overcompensate in how much they eat after exercise. It’s a difficult area to research as, unless you directly watch what people do, you have to rely on them self-reporting the length and intensity of their exercise and how much they ate – not always accurately.

But if you want to lose weight, you should exercise as well as diet. To be effective you need to exercise at a level above 75% of your maximum heart rate, according to David Broom, the lead author of the study and professor at the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity at Sheffield Hallam University.

To get round the small size of many of the trials, his team have pooled data from studies. Broom says this shows that exercise needs to be high intensity. “Even short bursts of exercise – as little as 30 second sprints – has been shown to suppress appetite and acylated ghrelin,” he says. The suppression of appetite due to the lowering of acylated ghrelin lasts up to roughly two hours, but there is variation between individuals.

Broom is clear that the evidence shows you will not feel hungrier or eat more at a subsequent meal. “You are more likely to put on weight if you are inactive,” he says. You should exercise regardless of whether you want to lose weight, of course. It lowers blood pressure and makes you happier.

What’s that? Exercise is also good for hearing?

Everybody has heard that exercise can help keep you slim and is good for heart health, but University of Florida researchers have also found that exercise may also help prevent age-related hearing loss – at least in mice.

The researchers found that the sedentary mice lost structures that are important in the auditory system – hair cells and strial capillaries – at a much higher rate than their exercising counterparts. This resulted in a roughly 20 percent hearing loss in sedentary mice compared with a 5 percent hearing loss in active mice. The researchers published their results in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Age-related hearing loss plagues about 70 percent of adults age 70 and older, and occurs when people lose hair cells, strial capillaries and spiral ganglion in the cochlear system of their ear. Hair cells sense sound, strial capillaries feed the auditory system with oxygen and spiral ganglion are a group of nerve cells that send sound from the cochlea to the brain. Shaped like a snail shell, the auditory system is always running, says lead author Shinichi Someya, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of aging and geriatric research.

“The cochlear, or inner ear, is a high-energy demanding organ,” said Someya, also a member of the UF Institute on Aging. “The auditory system is always on and always processing sound. To process sound, it needs a huge amount of energy molecules.”

The system needs to be well-fed with oxygen, delivered to the inner ear by strial capillaries, to generate those energy molecules. To test how exercise affects the loss of strial capillaries, hair cells and neurons, Someya and his fellow researchers separated mice into two groups: mice that had access to a running wheel and mice that did not have that access. The mice were also housed individually so that the researchers could keep track of how far the mice ran on their running wheels.

The exercise regimen for the mice peaked when the animals were 6 months old, or about 25 in human years. As the mice aged – to 24 months, or 60 human years – their exercise levels decreased. At their peak, the mice were running about 7.6 miles per day, but at the lowest, the mice were still running about 2.5 miles per day. The researchers then compared the group of exercising mice with a control group of non-exercising mice.

The researchers think age-related inflammation damages the capillaries and cells, and that exercising provides protection against that kind of inflammation. In another part of the study, the researchers compared inflammation in the bodies of the sedentary mice to inflammation in the exercising group. The mouse runners were able to keep most markers of inflammation to about half that of the sedentary group, which may help preserve the capillaries and hair cells involved in hearing.

While epidemiological studies have shown a link between hearing sensitivity and exercise, this is the first research to show that regular exercise can prevent age-related hearing loss in mice, Someya said. The research also translates well to humans, Someya said. Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D., a co-author of the study and professor and vice chair of research for the Institute on Aging, said the National Institutes of Health is currently beginning an initiative to discover other molecules that may be released by exercise that preserve biological function in humans. UF has submitted applications to the $170 million initiative, called Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans, for research funding.

“Exercise likely releases some growth factors yet to be discovered that maintain capillary density as compared to the control animals who were not exercising,” Leeuwenburgh said. “Also, exercise may release other beneficial factors, but can also attenuate and blunt negative factors, such as inflammation.”

Article: Effects of Long-Term Exercise on Age-Related Hearing Loss in Mice, Chul Han, Dalian Ding, Maria-Cecilia Lopez, Senthilvelan Manohar, Yanping Zhang, Mi-Jung Kim, Hyo-Jin Park, Karessa White, Yong Hwan Kim, Paul Linser, Masaru Tanokura, Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Henry V. Baker, Richard J. Salvi and Shinichi Someya, Journal of Neuroscience, doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2493-16.2016, published 2 November 2016.

Regular exercise may help muscle repair in older adults

Published:
Older people who do regular exercise may find it protects their muscles by helping them to repair more quickly after injury. Researchers came to this conclusion after studying the effect in aged mice.
The study suggests even as the ability of muscle tissue to contract reduces with age, exercise prevents its ability to heal after injury from slowing with age.

The study, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was published in The FASEB Journal.

Senior author Gianni Parise, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology, says:

“Exercise-conditioning rescues delayed skeletal muscle regeneration observed in advanced age.”

In many mammals, including humans and mice, the speed at which muscle repairs itself slows down with age. In fact, at one time, it was thought skeletal muscle was unable to repair completely after a certain age.

Prof. Parise and colleagues found after only 8 weeks of exercise, old mice showed faster muscle repair and regained more muscle mass than same-aged, non-exercised mice.

They suggest the finding is important because it supports the idea that exercise has a therapeutic effect.

For their study, the researchers used three groups of mice. The first was a group of old mice that underwent 8 weeks of progressive exercise.

The second group also consisted of old mice, but they did not undergo any exercise training, and the third group comprised young, non-exercised mice.

Following the exercise period, all the mice were inflicted with muscle injury via injection of a snake venom into their leg muscles (the tibialis anterior).

The team measured the condition of the muscle tissue in the animals before injury, 10 days after injury, and 28 days after injury.

More satellite cells in muscles

Comparison of the results showed the average area of muscle fiber cross-section was reduced in all three groups of mice at day 10; however, by day 28, it was only restored to pre-injury values in the old exercised group and the young, non-exercised group.

The authors conclude that exercise pre-conditioning appears to improve the ability of skeletal muscle to regenerate after injury in aged mice.

Adult muscles contain satellite cells – quiescent stem cells that become active when injury occurs. On activation, they repair damaged muscle and replenish the pool of stem cells.

The researchers found the pre-injury quantities of satellite cells in the animals’ muscle fibers was greater in the old exercised mice than in the old non-exercised mice.

Dr. Thoru Pederson, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, says the study is a “clean demonstration” that even in old animals, “the physiological and metabolic benefits of exercise radiate to skeletal muscle satellite cells.”

He notes that even as the ability of muscle tissue to contract reduces with age, the capacity of the satellite cells to respond to the effects of exercise appears to be maintained.

Squeeze in a workout; you only need a minute

By Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times New Service

For many of us, the most pressing question about exercise is: How little can I get away with? The answer, according to a new study of interval training, may be: very, very little. In this experiment, 60 seconds of strenuous exertion proved to be as successful at improving health and fitness as three-quarters of an hour of moderate exercise.

Let me repeat that finding: One minute of arduous exercise was comparable in its physiological effects to 45 minutes of gentler sweating.

I have been writing for some time about the potential benefits of high-intensity interval training, a type of workout that consists of an extremely draining but brief burst of exercise – essentially a sprint – followed by light exercise such as jogging or resting, then another sprint, more rest, and so on.

Athletes rely on intervals to improve their speed and power, but generally as part of a broader, weekly training program that also includes prolonged, less-intense workouts, such as long runs.

But in the past few years, exercise scientists and many of the rest of us have become intrigued by the idea of exercising exclusively with intervals, ditching long workouts altogether.

The allure of this approach is obvious. Interval sessions can be short, making them a boon for anyone who feels that he or she never has enough time to exercise.

Previously, I have written about a number of different interval programs, involving anywhere from 10 minutes of exhausting intervals in a single session to seven, six or four minutes, and even fewer. Each program had scientific backing. But because of time and funding constraints, most studies of interval training have had limits, such as not including a control group, not lasting long or not studying both health and fitness results.

Consequently, fundamental questions have remained unanswered about just how well these very short, very intense workouts really stack up against traditional, endurance-style training.

So scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton who had conducted many of the earlier studies of interval training, decided to mount perhaps the most scientifically rigorous comparison to date of extremely short and more standard workouts.

They began by recruiting 25 out-of-shape young men and measuring their current aerobic fitness and, as a marker of general health, their body’s ability to use insulin properly to regulate blood sugar levels. The scientists also biopsied the men’s muscles to examine how well their muscles functioned at a cellular level.

Then the researchers randomly divided the men into three groups. (The scientists plan to study women in subsequent experiments.) One group was asked to change nothing about their virtually non-existent exercise routines; they would be the controls.

A second group began a typical endurance-workout routine, consisting of riding at a moderate pace on a stationary bicycle at the lab for 45 minutes, with a two-minute warm-up and a three-minute cool down.

The final group was assigned interval training, using the most abbreviated workout yet to have shown benefits. Specifically, the volunteers warmed up for two minutes on stationary bicycles, then pedalled as hard as possible for 20 seconds; rode at a very slow pace for two minutes, went all-out again for 20 seconds; recovered with slow riding for another two minutes; pedalled all-out for a final 20 seconds; then cooled down for three minutes. The entire workout lasted 10 minutes, with only one minute of that time being strenuous.

Both groups of exercising volunteers completed three sessions each week for 12 weeks, or about twice as long as most previous studies of interval training.

By the end of the study, which was published in PLOS One, the endurance group had ridden for 27 hours, while the interval group had ridden for six hours, only 36 minutes of which was strenuous.

But when the scientists retested the men’s aerobic fitness, muscles and blood sugar control now, they found that the exercisers had shown virtually identical gains, whether they had completed the long endurance workouts or the short, gruelling intervals. In both groups, endurance had increased by nearly 20 per cent; insulin resistance had likewise improved significantly; and there were significant increases in the number and function of certain microscopic structures in the men’s muscles that are related to energy production and oxygen consumption.

There were no changes in health or fitness evident in the control group.

The upshot of these results is that three months of concerted endurance or interval exercise can notably, and almost identically, improve fitness and health.

Should people who exercise moderately or not at all begin interval training as their only workout?

“It depends on who you are and why you exercise,” said Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University who oversaw the study.

“If you are an elite athlete, then obviously incorporating both endurance and interval training into an overall program maximizes performance,” he said. “But if you are someone, like me, who just wants to boost health and fitness and you don’t have 45 minutes or an hour to work out, our data show that you can get big benefits from even a single minute of intense exercise.”

THE BENEFITS OF STRETCHING

Here is a great article on stretching written by Sarah Dreifke.

Stretching, in its most basic form, is a natural and automatic action. People often stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity.

While the benefits of daily exercise are numerous and well known, the benefits of a regular stretching routine are far less emphasized but just as important. Incorporating stretching into your daily workouts or into your regular day on their own is just as important to health and body functioning as regular exercise.

For The Body

The most established and obvious benefit of stretching is to help improve flexibility and range of motion. As the body ages, muscles can become tighter and range of motion in the joints can be minimized. A lack of flexibility can cause movement to become slower and less fluid, making an individual more susceptible to muscle strains or other soft tissue injuries. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day, normal motions. An increase in flexibility is accompanied by improved balance and coordination.

Chronically tense and tight muscles can also contribute to poor posture. Stretching helps to ensure correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, chest and shoulders can help keep the spine in better alignment and improve overall posture.

While it is still widely debated as to whether or not stretching can help prevent injury, it has been proven to help increase blood flow to the muscles. This increase in flow brings with it a greater nutrient supply to muscles, thereby reducing muscle soreness and helping to speed recovery from muscle and joint injuries. The less sore your muscles are, the less painful it will be to work those same muscles and to exercise in general.

For The Mind

Everyone has stress. A buildup of stress causes your muscles to contract, becoming tense. This tension can go on to have a negative impact on just about every part of your body. Like all types of exercise, flexibility exercises like stretching have powerful stress-busting abilities. Spending just a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) stretching each day can help calm the mind, providing a mental break and giving your body a chance to recharge.

To get the most out of your stretching routine keep in mind the following:

Skip the Pre-Workout Stretch

Before you begin your stretching, your muscles should be warm. Do a warm up of light walking, biking or jogging at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes. Or better yet, stretch after the workout when your muscles are already warm.

Focus on Muscles That Need the Most Help

Instead of trying to stretch your whole body, focus on a key area of the body at a time. Spend longer on each stretch and include more stretches for each area. If you are aware that certain muscles are tighter than others, focus your attention on those as you stretch.

Bring Movement Into Your Stretching

Gentle stretching can help increase flexibility in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi, yoga or pilates, for instance, may be a good way to stretch. In addition, when performing specific activities, such as a kick in martial arts or kicking a soccer ball, start by doing the movement slowly and at a lower intensity at first to get your muscles used to it. Then, as your muscles become more accustomed to the motion, gradually speed up the movement to a higher intensity

AN APPLE A DAY!

TUESDAY’S TRAINER TIP: You know the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”…well it’s true! Not only do you get the benefit of 4 grams of fibre when you eat a medium sized apple, they also aid in regulating your blood sugar and lower your risk of stroke. When it come to WEIGHT LOSS, studies have shown that when participants consumed an apple 15 minutes prior to their meal, their overall caloric intake was decreased by 15%! And if that’s not enought to get you to eat an apple a day, it has also been proven that eating apples improves your exercise by enhancing endurance. Apples have an antioxidant called quercetin that makes more oxygen available to your lungs. Try making apples one of your daily fruit choices. 🙂

SODIUM AND CELERY!

FIT TIP: Along with replacing the fluid your body loses through sweating after exercise, it is of equal importance to replace the sodium loss as well. On average your body loses about 500mg sodium/lb of sweat during exercise. What’s a great way to get natural sodium you ask? CELERY! There is 80mg of sodium per 100g of celery. Other health benefits: rich in vitamin A, C, E, D, K, contains folate and provides fiber!

6 Mistakes Sabotaging Your Fitness Goals

By

It’s about that time of year when many of us feel like the universe is conspiring to keep us from sticking with our New Year’s fitness resolutions. Sometimes, we sabotage our own efforts. Other times, life interferes with our good intentions. Here are some of the more common fitness saboteurs – and effective strategies for dealing with them:

  1. Stress

When you’re up against a work deadline or the kids are sick, you may feel you can’t handle one more thing, including exercise. But taking time out for yourself to go for a brisk walk or complete a quick workout is one of the best things you can do during those stressful times. Participation in regular exercise has been shown to help us better manage stress, reduce anxiety and depression, and elevate mood. It short, it enables us to better cope with life’s many challenges. Remember: Even a very brief bout of exercise (as little as 10 minutes) can be beneficial. The bottom line is that some exercise is always better than none.

  1. Unrealistic Expectations

People who are new to exercise often become frustrated when they don’t experience dramatic results during the first few weeks of starting a fitness program. They may be ready to throw in the towel because they haven’t dropped two dress sizes or developed those washboard abs in 10 days. To avoid this pitfall, set realistic goals, be patient and focus on steady progress. You can’t reverse a decade of sedentary living with a few weeks of physical activity. If you stick with a regimen, your body will respond positively. It typically takes several weeks or more of regular exercise before noticeable physiological changes occur.

  1. The Wrong Rewards

Don’t wait for the end goal – say, a 50-pound weight loss – to recognize your progress. Instead, notice when your workouts start to feel easier, you can tolerate longer-duration and more challenging workouts, and you find daily activities (such as household chores, work-related physical tasks and climbing stairs) easier to perform. Celebrate these early indicators of success by treating yourself to some new workout gear – such as clothing, an activity tracker or a fitness DVD – and use it for future motivation.

  1. Overtraining

Performing challenging daily workouts without appropriate amounts of rest and recovery time won’t help you reach your goals faster. Instead, it will undermine your progress. Overtraining occurs when there’s an imbalance between how often, intensely and long you exercise and how much time you allow for recovery. Overtaxing your body’s physiological systems this way will ultimately hurt your performance. You need a day or two off from vigorous exercise each week for optimal physical and mental recovery. Simply schedule rest days into your fitness program. Or, you can alternate hard and easy workouts or perform cross-training workouts where you vary your fitness activities (say, running during one workout and then swimming during the next) in order to reduce your likelihood of overtraining.

  1. Unexpected Interruptions

You were planning to hit the gym after work, but that late-afternoon meeting is running over. Or, you scheduled a Saturday hike but forgot about your child’s weekend soccer tournament. Life happens to all of us. We can either throw up our hands in frustration – or we can resolve to adjust and move forward. Resilience is the ability to bounce back quickly from life’s surprises and setbacks. You can improve this ability with practice. Try practicing good self-care by eating well, getting proper amounts of sleep, exercising regularly, cultivating healthy relationships, adopting an optimistic attitude and taking decisive action. As we become more resilient, we’re less likely to allow life’s frequent surprises to derail our workout efforts. Instead, we’ll be able to quickly modify our plans and move forward.

  1. The ‘I Can’t’ Syndrome

“I can never seem to find time to exercise.” “I’m so undisciplined.” “Why do I even bother to make resolutions?” Sound familiar? If so, ask yourself if you would talk to a friend or loved one this way. Listening to negative self-talk isn’t motivating. In reality, it’s pretty much a complete waste of time and always counterproductive since it chips away at your confidence and motivation to the point where you can’t imagine yourself being successful. Stop subjecting yourself to that unhealthy behavior. The next time you recognize a critical thought, stop it and replace it with a more productive and helpful thought.

Behavior change is process that can be likened to a journey. Give yourself some credit for every small step you take on your journey to a more active and healthier lifestyle. Remember: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Is Fasted Cardio The Best For Burning Fat?

By: Jim Stoppani

I’m often asked whether mornings of fasted cardio are the best way to burn fat. My answer is yes … and no. When it comes to the physiology and biochemistry of the human body, nothing is simple. Throw exercise on top of normal daily functions, and things become even more complicated. So what do the experts say?

Some research does actually show that when you do cardio fasted in the morning, you burn up to 20 percent more fat. A recent study from the UK published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” found that when subjects were fasted during morning cardio they burned 20 percent more fat than when they had a meal beforehand. Several earlier studies show similar results.

Fasted cardio in the morning is effective because as you sleep and fast overnight your body conserves its precious carb stores and leans toward mobilizing fat for fuel. The story doesn’t end here, however. Your body also breaks down amino acids into glucose overnight, so fasted morning cardio mobilizes more fat and potentially more amino acids for fuel, which isn’t ideal if building muscle is your primary goal. This isn’t a huge problem as long as you consume a fast-digesting protein like whey, along with some slow-digesting casein, after your cardio.

The HIIT On Cardio

Despite the evidence above, we can’t unequivocally say that fasted cardio is best for burning fat. Many studies on fasted or fed cardio focus solely on how many calories are burned during exercise. This is problematic because the real benefits of exercise, particularly high-intensity cardio and lifting, come after training. High-intensity training burns more calories and fat after a workout than low-intensity cardio. With high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you burn calories for the rest of the day, even when you’re not doing anything.

“With high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you burn calories for the rest of the day, even when you’re not doing anything.”

Studies show that HIIT workouts—which take far less than half the time of slow-and-steady cardio workouts—lead to as much as twice the total fat lost. Even though the slow-and-steady cardio programs burned more total calories and fat during the actual workout, the HIIT programs somehow led to greater total fat loss. This is because the HIIT workouts burned more calories and fat the rest of the day, which adds up to more calories and fat than you can burn during a single workout.

So, if you’re like most people, your best bet is to not worry about doing cardio fasted first thing in the morning. If doing cardio first thing in the morning is best for your schedule, then go for it, but try to at least have a pre-workout protein shake. If your goal is building max muscle, then I highly recommend you have a protein shake and some carbs, such as fruit, before the workout. If you’re trying to limit carb intake, then you might want to avoid the carbs until after the workout is over. But again, it all depends on your diet.

The Stoppani Solution

That being said, I personally do a bit of fasted cardio and recommend it for certain people at specific times. I found that fasted cardio can work well for men with body fat in the low single digits (5-6 percent) and females with body fat in the low teens (13-14 percent), especially if they have specific problem areas like the lower back or thighs.

Over the years, I found that once people drop the majority of their total body fat, fasted cardio seems to work well on resistant or stubborn areas. Although there’s no direct data to reference, it might be that when a person only has a small amount of fat lingering in hard-to-attack areas, exercising in a fasted state could spark those resistant fat cells to release stored fat so it can be burned for fuel.

“I found that fasted cardio can work well for men with body fat in the low single digits (5-6 percent) and females with body fat in the low teens (13-14 percent), especially if they have specific problem areas like the lower back or thighs.”

However, if you’re a male with roughly 8 percent body fat or more, or a female with 16 percent or more, fasted cardio probably won’t make a massive dent in your fat-loss efforts. Instead, go high intensity with some form of HIIT and watch the fat melt.

 

9 Ways To Sneak More Water Into Your Day

Most of us know we should drink plenty of water each day to keep our body running in high gear. Water regulates our body’s thermostat, cushions our joints, shuttles oxygen and nutrients to cells, flushes toxins from organs and hydrates our skin. Drinking more water might also improve your mood, sharpen your mental focus and help you lose weight.

You know you should imbibe, but do you? And if you do, how much?

If you don’t like water, if you power through your work day drinking only a latte, you’re probably somewhat dehydrated. And that’s even more likely if you don’t eat many fruits and vegetables.

While drinking too little water during a sedentary (air-conditioned) work day won’t bring on symptoms of severe dehydration – e.g., flushed skin, light-headedness, rapid heart rate, irritability, loss of appetite, dark-coloured urine – its effects can still impair your performance.

A 2011 study conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that mild dehydration – defined as a 1.5-per-cent loss of normal water volume in the body – triggered headaches, caused fatigue, worsened mood and impaired concentration in young men and women. Mild dehydration can also cause constipation.

The most recent guidelines from the Institute of Medicine, published in 2004, advise healthy adults living in temperate climates consume 12 to 13 cups (men) and 9 cups (women) of water each day. Pregnant women need 10 cups of water each day and women who breastfeed should drink 13 cups. (The U.S.-based Institute of Medicine establishes nutrient intake recommendations for Americans and Canadians.)

If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to replace what you’ve lost. How much more you need depends on how much you sweat and the duration and type of exercise.

Hot, humid weather also drives up the body’s need for water. And you need to drink more water during air travel, too. Low humidity on airplanes increases fluid loss through the skin.

All beverages – excluding alcoholic drinks, which cause your body to lose water – count toward your daily water requirement. In addition to plain water, milk, fruit juice, coffee, tea and even soft drinks hydrate you. (Even so, I don’t recommend you quench your thirst with sugary beverages.)

If you’re struggling to meet your daily water quota, use the following tips to amp up your hydration.

Sip on a berry smoothie

Start your day by hydrating your body with an antioxidant-packed smoothie. But it’s not just the milk (whether dairy or non-dairy) that adds water to smoothies (cow’s milk is 91 per cent water). Berries also contain large amounts of water in proportion to their weight, with strawberries leading the pack (92 per cent water) followed by raspberries (87 per cent), blueberries (85 per cent) and cherries (81 per cent).

Start with a ‘water appetizer’

Make a habit of drinking 500 millilitres of water before each meal. Doing so will put a big dent in your daily water requirement and it can help you feel full – and, as a result, help prevent you from overeating. A randomized trial published in the journal Obesity in 2010 found that among overweight middle-aged and older adults following a 1,500-calorie diet, those who were told to drink 16 ounces of water before each meal lost an additional five pounds over three months compared with the non-water group.

Eat your water

Roughly 20 per cent of our daily water comes from food. Hydrate with water-packed seasonal summer fruit such as watermelon (92 per cent water), cantaloupe (90 per cent), peaches (88 per cent) and plums (85 per cent). Vegetables are good sources of water, too. Snack on crudités consisting of sliced cucumber (96 per cent), celery (95 per cent), zucchini strips (95 per cent), radish (95 per cent) and cherry tomatoes (94 per cent). (All in season in the summer.)

Take an iced coffee break

Cool off and hydrate with an unsweetened iced coffee with a splash of milk. A Grande at Starbucks provides 16 ounces of fluid for only 25 calories. While older studies suggested caffeine had a weak diuretic effect, more recent studies do not. If you regularly consume moderate amounts of caffeine, it does not cause your body to lose more water than you ingest.

Flavour it

If you find plain water boring, flavour it with lime and basil leaves, raspberries and fresh mint, mango and pineapple chunks or honeydew and cucumber slices. To infuse more flavour, allow the water to chill for a few hours in the fridge. Or chill plain water with naturally flavoured ice cubes. When filling ice cube trays with water, add a few blueberries, a strawberry, mint leaves or crushed lemongrass before freezing. Many natural food stores and some grocery stores carry True Citrus, a line of natural citrus flavours to add to water (no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives).

Fizz it

If you prefer bubbly water over still, it still counts, whether it’s club soda, Pellegrino or water from your SodaStream sparkling-water maker. (And, contrary to popular belief, carbonated water does not leach calcium from your bones.)

Curb after-dinner cravings

Beat your evening snacking habit – and achieve your daily water goal – by sipping on herbal tea, flavoured black tea or a dried fruit blend (available in tea shops).

Make it convenient

Out of sight, out of mind. Keep a filled bottle or glass of water on your desk at work and on your kitchen counter at home. Take a water bottle with you to the gym and carry one when exercising outdoors.

Use an app

If you need accountability – and a constant reminder of your daily goal – keep track of your water intake using an app on your smartphone such as Daily Water, Waterlogged or Water Alert.

LESLIE BECK

Special to The Globe and Mail