As we head into the hottest days of summer (the high today is 99!), I thought it would be a good idea to address proper hydration. Whether you are extremely active or mostly sedentary, hydration plays a vital role in your personal health!
Let’s start with the facts:
Water is an essential component of your body’s make up, accounting for around 60% of your body weight. Every physiological system depends on water to carry out its function – from carrying nutrients to cells to flushing out toxins and much, much more.
If you aren’t consuming enough water, you can become dehydrated. Basically, this means that your bodily functions cannot be performed efficiently which drains your energy and leaves you feeling fatigued. So how much water should you consume each day? There is no simple answer to this relatively simple question, but we can explore some tips and goals that are sure to keep you properly hydrated throughout the hot and humid summer months!
First off, remember that consumption of water doesn’t just mean drinking straight up water. You can also rehydrate through eating foods with large water content. An average diet usually accounts for 20% of your water intake, mostly through fruits and veggies, but also through beverages such as milk and juice. Although there is water content in beer, wine, and caffeinated beverages, these sources should be used sparingly as they can also be diuretics and have adverse effects on hydration. The dietitians here at Good Measure Meals™ advocate for water consumption with our meals is to ensure that you are not adding extra calories to your plan (altering the daily nutrition balance) and also to keep you properly hydrated!
For the average Joe there are several schools of thought on hydration. The most common approach is the 8 by 8 rule, which basically states that one must consume 8 glasses of liquid per day. Although this is not supported by scientific evidence, it is an easy guideline to follow. According to the Institute of Medicine, men are advised to consume around 3 liters of beverage per day and women around 2.2 liters. Another study by the Mayo Clinic said that proper hydration could be determined using the following equation:
Body Weight(lbs) / 2 = ounces of water needed
This is the total consumption though, so you would need to take the equation one step further and account for the 20% water from food, so the equation would look something like this for a 140 lb women:
140 lbs / 2 = 70 oz.
70oz * 80% = 56 oz.
56 oz / 8(oz in a cup) = 7 cups of water per day
Obviously these are the baseline consumption guidelines, so for those participating in physical activity, we must increase the intake to account for the water loss due to perspiration. A good guideline is to add an additional 8oz. of water or sport drink for every 20 minutes of vigorous activity. I found a great resource addressing Exercise Hydration that was put together by the Dietitians from the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition group of the American Dietetic Association. Click on the image below to read through the 1 page fact sheet about how to properly stay hydrated and rehydrate throughout bouts of exercise!
I hope you found some of this information useful and are ready to fight the summer heat with proper hydration! Let me know if you have any questions regarding exercise, dehydration, or water consumption!
In Health, Jess