It’s been a pretty hot summer here in the Northeast. And with hot weather, we need to think a little bit more about hydration, especially if we are being active outside.
How much water do I actually need? Of course you have heard 8 glasses a day, but that may vary, depending on your health, level of activity, and climate. The Institute of Medicine has recommendations for the average healthy adult living in a temperate climate- 13 cups of fluid for men, and 9 cups of fluid for women. Keep in mind that “fluid” can include the liquid found in food as well. All fluid counts toward your daily intake, so drinking 8, 8 oz glasses per day is probably a reasonable goal (mayoclinic.org). As a general rule, listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty. However keep in mind, you may need to increase your intake if it’s hot/humid, you are exercising, you’re sick, or you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Here are my top tips for staying hydrated-
1. Drink 16 oz as soon as you wake up in the morning
2. Use bigger cups to encourage yourself to drink more
3. Drink a big glass with every meal
4. Carry your water bottle wherever you go (I know that seems really basic, but many people don’t) and refill it whenever you have an opportunity
5. Keep an extra water bottle in your vehicle
6. Drink before, during and after exercise
7. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables- these are naturally watery and filled with nutrients too.
8. Opt for water on airplane flights instead of soda, alcohol, or other beverages
9. If you get bored with water try herbal tea or fruit-infused water.
10. Pay attention to signs of dehydration- dry mouth, sleepiness, dark urine or decreased urination, dry skin, headache, dizziness.
Do you need a sports drink? Most likely not. Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. Usually good old H2O will do the trick. The general consensus is that if you are doing intense exercise for 90 minutes or more, you may benefit from the carbs and electrolytes in sports drinks. Otherwise, “let thirst be your guide and water your drink.”