As temperatures throughout the region skyrocket, one thing is certain: You must hydrate to stay cool, healthy and functional. But how much do you really need, and what are some easy ways to get more? Read on to learn all you need to know about drinking water.
It seems summer has arrived — with a vengeance. And if you find yourself constantly reminding yourself to “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate” as you get into your scalding car, exercise and/or run your errands, you’re on the right track.
It’s a given that drinking water is important; but how do you squeeze more in during the day?
Drink More Water with These Top Tips
- Start your morning right by reaching for a glass of water when you wake up. This rehydrates your body from water expelled from breathing through the night.
- Take regular water breaks.
- Avoid relying on sodas, alcohol and caffeinated beverages to provide your fluid needs, as they can have a dehydrating effect.
- Drink water before and after food. The stomach depends on water to help digest food, and lack of water makes it harder for nutrients to be broken down. The liver, which dictates where all nutrients go, also needs water to help convert stored fat into usable energy. If you are dehydrated, the kidneys turn to the liver for backup, diminishing the liver’s ability to metabolize stored fat. The resulting reduced blood volume will interfere with your body’s ability to remove toxins and supply your cells with adequate nutrients.
- Keep a Hydro Flask or your favorite bottle by your side at all the times and carry it with you everywhere: to the gym, in your car and to your office. The point is not to wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Keep water flowing before, during and after a workout. During exercise, it is recommended to replenish fluid at least every 20 minutes.
How Much Water Is Enough?
Through daily activities, research suggests that the average person loses about 3-4 liters (about 10-15 cups) of fluid a day from breathing, skin evaporation, digestion and other body functions. And what is lost must be replaced by what we drink and eat.
But guess what? Despite what your mom may have told you, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day may not be enough after all. How much you need depends on how much you weigh, your body frame, where you live or your lifestyle.
Experts agree you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 ounces (about 9.5 8-ounce servings) to 150 ounces of water a day (about 19 8-ounce servings). If you’re living in a hot climate and are a regular exerciser, you would be on the higher end of this range; if you’re in a cooler climate and mostly sedentary, you need less.
Am I Dehydrated?
You can become dehydrated when the water you take in does not equal your output. Fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, and at high altitudes. But keep in mind that if you are thirsty, it means you are already dehydrated. Thirst does not develop until your body fluids are depleted well below its needs, and dry mouth should be regarded as the last outward sign of dehydration.
Even though we are all at risk of dehydration, it is infants, elderly adults and athletes which are most vulnerable. Their thirst sensation can decrease due to age and exercise volume.
The effects of even mild dehydration include:
- decreased coordination
- dry skin
- decreased urine output
- dry mucous membranes in the mouth and nose
- blood pressure changes