There is actually no evidence that backs up the old adage you should drink 8 glasses of water a day. It has been recommended by the Institute of Medicine that men get about 125 ounces of water daily and women 91 ounces, but that also includes water from all foods and beverages. We all usually get enough hydration unless we’ve been exposed to heat stress or have been very active for a long time.
About 20% of water comes from food every day. Even an apple is 84% water, bananas are 74% water and broccoli is 91% water. Surprising, isn’t it? Many foods that you wouldn’t think of as having water are plain bagels with 33% water, ground beef with 56% and American cheese at 39%. Who would have thought???
In hot, humid weather it really doesn’t take long to get dehydrated. Do not exercise hard when outside and it’s too hot and humid. If you take longer breaks and shorten the workout or intensity level it will help, and be sure to dress appropriately. Taking rehydration breaks about every 20 minutes of drinking 5 to 10 ounces of fluid would keep most people adequately hydrated. A lot of your individual needs for hydration depends on things like how hard you are working, if you are indoors or outdoors, your age, gender and weight. If you intend to work out it is always a good idea to drink two cups of fluids about two hours prior.
The most dehydrating effect comes from alcoholic beverages. You will find yourself hopping to the bathroom more often by drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks but overall, it’s because of their water content.
Kids need plenty of fluids as they can get dehydrated more easily than adults. Older people may also need more because of health conditions. Men generally need more than women and heavier people need more water. Some health conditions can also boost your need for fluids and extreme weather conditions as well. About 10 cups of water is lost every day just by breathing, sweating, urinating and so on. Just keep check of the color of your urine. The darker it is, the less hydrated you are. Keep that urine a clear or pale shade. Body weight can also be a way to monitor your hydration.
Water can help with weight loss as you will drink fewer calories and eat less when the water fills you up. Healthy kidneys in adults can process anywhere from 20 to 1,000 millimeters of fluid per hour, so you really can’t overload them and drink too much, unless you do so in a very short time. Athletes are told to drink no more than 31 ounces per hour during exercise by the International Marathon Medical Directors Association.
Every cell, tissue and organ in the body needs water. Water helps move nutrients, gets rid of waste, keeps your temperature at the right level, lubricates and cushions joints, keeps the skin moisturized and many other things. Being thirsty is one of the first warning signals that you may show in becoming dehydrated. There are other signs as fatigue, flushed skin, faster breathing and pulse rate. You may even later experience weakness, dizziness and labored breathing. Move to a cool place and rehydrate drinking fluids slowly, if this happens. Our bodies are mostly water with about 55 to 75% on average.
Be observant and watch for those signs of dehydration. Be sensible with workouts and don’t forget to drink water frequently when exercising.
-Dr Fredda Branyon