Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Once upon a time, someone decided 8 glasses, 8 ounces each, of water sounded like a good number. Later, some fitness guru challenged people to drink a gallon a day. 64 ounces to 128 ounces is a huge difference. Where is the actual correct number? Unfortunately, that number is very individualized. In my experience, water consumption should be a stretch but manageable. There is always the person who over consumes easily, conversely the person who struggles with getting 8 ounces. We have factors that increase our hydration levels, both positively and negatively.
When we are sick, it is encouraged to replace our electrolytes. Athletes often use drinks like gatorade to replenish salt and electrolyte loss during sporting events. Yet the average person is told to drink plain water. It is true that we absorb water better when it comes from food. This list of 17 foods is a great place to start incorporating more water rich foods into your daily life. There is no way to consume all your water needs through food alone, but you can decrease your drinking when your day includes any of these foods.
There are several things that dehydrate us.
Starting with drinks, caffeine and alcohol both naturally have dehydrating properties. For every cup of coffee, you should offset that with an extra glass of water. Heat, humidity, and elevation all require an increase in water consumption. All three of those factors are out of a person’s control, so if you live somewhere hot, humid, or at a higher elevation, you need to be cognizant of the effect your environment plays on your hydration.
What happens when we sweat?
When we sweat, we are losing salt and electrolytes, and they need to be replaced in order to recover efficiently. You may be sweating due to heat and humidity, but it also can be something you are doing. Strenuous exercise, a sauna, steam room, or hot tub. If you know you will be participating in an activity that will cause you to sweat a lot, you will want to pre-hydrate and not just try to catch up after the fact.
Why tracking water is important.
When determining how much water you should be drinking, take note first of how much you are drinking. Track your water for a couple days, and see what you average out at. Then, try to increase each day. Some people do really well with the giant bottle that is labeled with times, telling you how much to drink by when. If you are slowly increasing, find places where you can add. Bring a glass upstairs at nite with you. Drink it first thing when you wake up. When taking vitamins or medication, drink a full glass of water instead of a sip. Try an app, like WaterLogged, to remind you to take a sip. Or set an alarm on your computer to refill your glass.
Most people will end up between 64 and 128 ounces of water needed in a day. And your need will vary day to day. Eat a big salad one day, and workout in the 90 degree sun the next, different requirements for sure. As always, listen to your body. Is your skin clearing up, is your urine not too clear, not too brown, did your afternoon headache subside? All of these are signs of good hydration.
A great way to increase your water intake is to incorporate an exercise routine.
Reach out and we can set that up!