Summer is right around the corner, and we need to stay on top of our hydration in the hot, humid days. Water is vital to good health, yet individual needs vary.
Essential to Health
Water makes up 60 percent of your body weight and is the principal chemical component in your body. In order to work properly, water is needed for every cell, tissue, and organ in your body.
- Gets rid of wastes
- Regulates your temperature
- Keeps joints lubricated
- Protects tissue
Dehydration happens when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out daily functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
How much water do you need?
You lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Replenishing the supply through beverages and foods that contain water is the key to keeping your body functioning at it’s best.
According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
Fluids, under this definition, includes water, other beverages, and food. According to the The Mayo Clinic, 20 percent of daily fluid intake comes from food and the rest from drinks.
What about the advice to drink eight glasses a day?
You’ve probably heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s an easy standard to start with, but that goal may be affected by several factors
Factors that influence water needs
- Sweating can lead to fluid loss, and you will need to make sure to drink extra water to cover this deficit before, during and after a workout. According to the Mayo Clinic, if exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat.
- Hot, humid weather can lead to fluid loss, as well as spending time at high altitudes.
- Health Status. Fluid loss can occur when you are feeling under the weather. Follow your physician’s advice if they tell you to increase your fluid intake when you are sick.
Tips for Staying safely hydrated, according to the The Mayo Clinic
- Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise.
- Drink water if you’re feeling hungry. Thirst is often confused with hunger.