Ensuring that you are adequately hydrated is an essential step in nourishing your body. Water plays a vital role in our health because sixty percent of our body is water.
Water supports many functions in our body. For example, water aides the passage of nutrients in the blood and into our cells. Water electrolyte maintains the health of kidneys by preventing kidney stones or infections. Water also aids in thermoregulation with exercise.
Water can also help increase your energy level, hydrate your skin to give you a youthful glow, and help you interpret your hunger and fullness cues more accurately.
Dehydration, or not having enough water, inhibits all of these body processes and can negatively impact your health.
Dehydration can also contribute to a lack of energy, dull-looking skin, headaches, and high risk of activity-related injuries and impair physical performance.
Especially in the heat of the summer, it is vital to hydrate because you sweat more and need to replace the fluids lost. The same principles apply when you are in high altitude conditions since water more easily evaporates from your skin in high altitudes and through your breath.
How Much Fluid Do You Need?
Providers recommend an average individual consume half their body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if someone is 200 pounds, they would need 100 ounces of water each day. This recommendation assumes normal conditions.
There may be medical reasons you would need to consume more water or less water, and it is important to check with your provider to ensure you’re meeting your needs.
As mentioned above, it’s essential to account for hot conditions and high altitude situations when assessing daily water needs. Your thirst level can be a great indicator of when you need to drink more water. But if sweating outdoors in the heat or for a prolonged period, you cannot rely on your thirst alone to replace what you’ve lost! You will need to be drinking more water than you most likely feel like drinking. Replace these fluids as you go, not all in one sitting after outdoor activity. Too much water consumption in a short period can have dire effects.
How do you trick yourself into drinking more water? Have a specific bottle or cup that you use and know how many of those containers you need to drink per day to meet your goals. There are also large water bottles available online and other retailers that track your intake for the day.
What Fluids Count Towards Hydration Needs?
Liquids that are not sweetened beverages can count towards your daily fluid needs, including water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, and electrolyte drinks. Highly caffeinated drinks such as energy drinks, coffee in large amounts, and other caffeine sources have a slight diuretic effect and cause you to urinate more. If you can keep caffeine intake at a low amount, this should not dramatically impact your hydration levels.
How Do I Know If I’m Hydrated?
With this increase in fluid intake, you may find yourself going to the bathroom more as you try to meet your water intake goals! Urine color is the best indicator of hydration. If your urine is clear, that means that you are over hydrated and can decrease your fluid intake. The goal for urine color to ensure you are adequately hydrated is a very slight yellow color. Darker yellow colors indicate that you are dehydrated.