How Much Water Do You Really Need?

How often do you hear “you need eight 8 oz cups of water per day.” But is that really true? How much water do you really need? 

So…No, the above recommendation is definitely not true for everyone!

Here are the facts:

Fluid needs vary from person to person, and will depend on your size, the temperature, and the amount of sweat lost through physical activity.

A basic rule of thumb for a normal, healthy adult is to aim for at least half of your body weight in fluid ounces (i.e. that’s 70 fluid ounces for someone who weighs 140 pounds). Those in hot or dry climates and/or who lose a lot of sweat through strenuous physical activity, may require more. You can also monitor hydration status by paying attention to your urine. If you are urinating  every 2-4 hours, have a good volume of output, and the urine color is lemonade or lighter, this is a good rule of thumb that you are adequately hydrated. Also, keep in mind that the sensation of thirst is the first sign that your body is already slightly dehydrated. From a weight control standpoint, it’s common to mistake thirst for hunger… so when you think you might be hungry and crave a snack, a big glass of water may actually be just what you need!

Why is fluid intake important? Water accounts for 50-80% of body weight, depending on lean body mass. Water plays a critical role in many functions. It regulates temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, lubricates joints, helps flush out waste products, and supports digestive regularity. Hydration also plays an important role in energy level, exercise performance, and preventing fatigue. In fact, dehydration of as little as 2% loss of body weight results in impaired performance.

Does only plain water count? No! Believe it or not, solid foods contribute 20% of total water intake! Who would have thought?!! Fruits, and then vegetables are the food sources with the highest water content. Think juicy oranges, watermelon,  cucumbers, and tomatoes, just to name a few. And then consider that other beverages including milk, juices, and even coffee and tea will count. While it was once thought that caffeinated beverages can be dehydrating, the latest research is showing that they actually do not increase risk of dehydration. So while they do have a mild diuretic effect (meaning they cause you to urinate more), caffeinated beverages can actually count for hydration.  But there is one beverage that does NOT count… and that’s Alcohol, which can dehydrate you. So for every cocktail you drink, try to match it with an extra glass of water.

Not getting enough fluid? 

Try these tips to help yourself stay hydrated:
1. Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning and before every meal.
3. Keep a glass or bottle on your nightstand, work desk, or other common areas as a visual cue to drink up!
4. Take a large bottle of water with you when leaving the house
5. Keep water with you when exercising, and take drinks at periodic points throughout your workout (i.e. every 5 minutes, every mile, between sets, etc.)
6. Add squeezed lemon, crushed fruit, or small amounts of fruit juice to enhance flavor if plain water does not appeal to you.
7. Use sparkling water if you prefer carbonated beverages.

Please share what you are doing to stay hydrated! 

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