It is important to keep in mind at all times of the year, but as the mercury rises, it’s more important than ever to focus on how much fluids your body receives each day. Water is one of the most essential components of the human body; it makes up over half of it! It regulates body temperature, cushions and protects vital organs & joints, aids in digestion, and waste elimination.
- Increased thirst
- Decreased energy
- Dry skin
- Dark yellow urine or decreased urine output
- Sticky or dry mouth
- Loss of skin elasticity
It is important to drink water even before signs of thirst appear. Thirst is a signal that your body is already on the way to dehydration. It is important to drink more than thirst demands and to continue to drink throughout the day.
In one hour of exercise the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on the workout intensity and air temperature. If there is not enough water for the body to cool itself through sweating, the body enters a state of dehydration. The efficiency of Oxygen delivery to muscle tissue and waste removal is decreased which allows fatigue to set in sooner. In other words, exercise performance suffers.
During exercise, water is the best fluid replenisher for most people, although electrolyte drinks help replace lost store through high-intensity exercise exceeding 45 to 60 minutes. Individuals who sweat profusely during exercise and whose sweat contains high amounts of sodium (you may notice salt rings on your clothes or “gritty” feel to your skin) you may benefit from an electrolyte drink.
Tips for Healthy Hydration
Have a Goal
A general recommendation is to drink half of your body weight in ounces (Example: a 150 lb person should drink 75 ounces per day).
If you exercise, you’ll need more.
Carry a water bottle with hash marks so you can keep track throughout the day. Set reminders to help you stay accountable. Track your progress in a journal or using a smart phone app like this one.
Sample hydration schedule for an average 150 lb person:
- Wake up – 8oz
- Breakfast – 8oz 30 min before and after
- Mid-morning – 8 oz
- Lunch – 8 oz 30 min before & after
- Midday – 8 oz
- Dinner – 8 oz 30 min before & after
- Before bed – 8 oz
Drinking water both before and after meals help aid digestion and can help curb appetite, which may be helpful for weight loss.
If you find it hard to choke down plain water all day to get enough, try infusing it with flavorful fruits like lemon and raspberries. There are many fresh recipes for fruit infused water here.
What about coffee?
You may have heard to avoid coffee if you want to stay hydrated. A recent study debunks the myth that it also causes dehydration. A daily cup can contribute to your water needs, coffee can also give you a sharper memory and boost athletic endurance and performance.
Eat Your Water
Eating foods high in water content (fruits and vegetables) also provide an added bonus of fiber, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals.
Foods with 90% or more water content include watermelon, cucumbers, celery, strawberries, bell pepper, cantaloupe, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, pineapple, carrots, grapefruit, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Many people are conscious about the types of foods they include and exclude from their diet to optimize their health. Make sure you don’t overlook one of the most important nutrients you body needs to properly function each and every day – WATER!