- Alexi Sanchez
The Magic Multiplier
I’ve honestly never loved the idea of a “magic bullet”. I don’t believe there is one single thing in any area of our life and health that can fix everything by itself. All of our choices in life add up to the people we are today, and all of our choices regarding our health also add up to the vitality (or lack thereof) that we have. If we are looking specifically at the voice, there is no exception. Overall good habits will produce overall vocal health, and making enough of the wrong choices will lead to our vocal demise.
That being said, I do believe there are multipliers that take any game to the next level. And there are certain things that, when you don’t do them, it makes all your bad choices ten times worse. When it comes to vocal health, those two are one and the same:
Staying properly hydrated is one of the most important and hardest things to do for our health. Our body is made up of about 60% water, and it needs replenishing! But when it comes to the voice, it’s even more important that we stay hydrated. Most of the “big no-no’s” in vocal health are considered bad because they are dehydrating.
When your vocal cords are dehydrated, they can more easily become irritated and swollen. This not only makes it incredibly uncomfortable to use your voice, but continual use in this state can cause long term damage. Think about skinning your knee in the same place over and over again without ever giving the wound time to heal. Eventually the damage is permanent and the knee becomes more painful to use. If you use your voice on a regular basis, that’s a scary thought!
Staying hydrated makes it easier for your vocal folds to vibrate. It also helps keep the mucus on your cords nice and thin - the thicker it is, the more phlegmy you are, and the harder it is to speak or sing clearly. And let’s be honest, it just feels better to be hydrated properly. And the healthier we feel, the more confident we are in using our voice. Being dry and raspy definitely makes me more hesitant… some interesting things have come out of my mouth when I haven’t been hydrated!
So if hydration is so important, why do so much of us deprioritize it? I feel like drinking the proper amount of water is one of those things that’s super easy to do, but also super easy not to do. And, like all of those small, smart decisions, doing it right over time can cause dramatically better results. In my opinion, all it takes is a decision, a simple plan, and a dash of accountability.
The proper amount of water is ½ of your body weight in ounces. Figure out how much that is and decide that you will drink that every day. For me, that’s about 8 cups of water. Now that I know that, I can…
Different people operate differently. I highly doubt there’s a “one plan fits all” situation that can help every person on the planet drink the amount of water they need. So figure out a plan that works for you. Here are some tips and ideas for different options that may inspire your personal plan:
Go on amazon and buy one of those big jugs that holds your entire water intake for the day. A lot of them have times on them so you know where you should be progressing throughout the day.
Is that too intimidating for you too? Plan out specific times to drink smaller doses. For example: I will drink 1 cup before I leave for work, 1 water bottle (2 cups) before lunch, 1 more water bottle before 6pm, etc.
Set a reminder on your phone or smart watch. It’s easy to forget new habits we’re trying to develop.
Consider your environment. If you do a lot of physical activity, are in dry or hot areas, or are drinking dehydrating substances like caffeine or alcohol, make sure you plan on increasing your water intake to adjust.
Add something to your water if water is too “boring” for you. I personally use raspberry, lemon lime, and mango citrus twist tubes, Truvivity powder (for internal skin hydration), and various other products that make my water taste great (and have other health benefits!). You can also use cucumbers, lemons, limes, or oranges for taste. That’s a big thing I do to get excited about the proper intake instead of annoyed that I have to chug another glass of water.
Here’s the kicker - a plan is no good if you don’t follow through with it! Some people are able to be accountable to themselves, others need some sort of accountability partner. Whatever you need, make sure you get it! When you follow through with your plan, you’ll feel great because you stayed accountable, but you’ll also feel great because you’re well hydrated! And if you do it long enough, you’ll develop a habit of proper hydration that will have a long term positive impact on your voice.
If you need an accountability partner but don’t know where to go, please let me know! I’d be happy to help you out on your journey :)
Some next level hydration tips:
Use filtered water when you can. It’s better for you and tends to taste better as well. I am in LOVE with our eSpring filter, it connects to our sink spigot and does the job quite nicely.
Alkaline water is known to provide better hydration. It also can help improve circulation and reduce acid reflux (holla!). I make it a point to drink a bottle of Perfect Water every day for that reason.
Electrolytes help make the most of your water. A lot of sports drinks will replenish electrolytes, I’m also a big fan of XS CocoWater powder mix.
Remember: Hydration is the Magic Multiplier. It does wonders for your body, your skin, and of course, your voice! It will enhance everything you do to keep your voice healthy, and a lack of it will likely destroy all your other good choices. Start making those small, smart choices today!