Staying Hydrated

When temperatures rise, we know that drinking water can be life-saving. But how much water do we really need every day? Well, the answer can be a bit complicated. Water has many roles including transporting nutrients, removing waste, regulating body temperature and keeping our cellular level working properly. But the amount of water we need varies day-to-day and person-to-person depending on several factors such as age, where you live, gender, activity level, body composition, outside temperature and humidity. Certain medications such as diuretics and diabetes medications can also affect hydration level, so be sure to discuss with your physician or pharmacist. When the body is properly hydrated, the heart can pump efficiently to the muscles and brain. Dehydration can be a serious condition which can lead to life threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.

Thirst is not the best indicator of dehydration. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Many physicians recommend paying attention to the color of your urine to help determine your hydration level. Pale and clear urine means you are well hydrated whereas dark colored urine may indicate that you need to drink more fluids. According to the American Heart Association, if you want to know how much fluid to replenish, weigh yourself before and after exercise to determine how much you have lost due to perspiration. For every pound of sweat that you lose, you will need to drink 2 cups of water to replenish.

As discussed, there is no magical number of cups of water to drink for everyone. Drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water every day is a good place to start for most individuals. Foods and beverages also count toward the total since most people get about 20% of their fluid intake from food. Bottom line, don’t let yourself get thirsty and take extra precautions in the hot summer months, when taking certain medications and during physical activity.

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About Diane Andrea

Diane is the Wellness Consultant for J.W. Terrill. Diane is a registered and licensed dietitian and certified health coach with over 20 years experience in the wellness field.

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