Staying Hydrated

July 29th, 2014

Summer is heating up, which means you’ll be sweating more and losing lots of water which could lead to dehydration! Before we get to proper hydration, let us take a look at some of the symptoms and warning signs of dehydration.

  • Thirst – By the time you have developed thirst, or extreme thirst, you are already dehydrated. Make sure to avoid waiting to drink until you are thirsty.
  • Dry Mouth/Swollen Tongue 
  • Weakness/Sluggish Feeling
  • Dizziness or Feeling Faint
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Feeling Foggy or Confused
  • Decreased Urine Output – The average output of urine per day should be 1.5 liters. Color should be light yellow to clear.
  • Constipation
  • Inability to Sweat

If you experience any of the symptoms above on a regular basis, it could just be that you aren’t getting enough water. So drink up!

The old adage of eight 8-oz. glasses of fluid a day is a good place to start, but it will still leave you below current recommendations. The Institute of Medicine determined that adequate intake of fluids is about 3 liters (13 cups) for men and roughly 2.2 liters (9 cups) for women.

It is important to note that fluid can be any beverage, as most of them have water as the main component, but I would urge you to make the majority of your beverage selections to be water. Water is cheap, available, and calorie free, which makes it the best choice in my opinion.

We also get fluids from the foods we eat, which can count towards your daily goals. Most fruits and vegetables are mostly made up of water and are a great way of supplementing your fluid intake. On average, food intake makes up about 20 percent of a person’s daily fluid intake. This means that you would still need ~2.5 liters for men and ~1.75 liters for women.

There are situations in which drinking more than the recommended amount of water is indicated. If you are engaged in exercise, your fluid intake requirements increase based on the intensity and duration of exercise. Short bouts of exercise require about a cup and a half to two and a half cups of additional water. Workouts lasting more than an hour require even more than that!

How much really depends on how much you are sweating, and how long you go for. For any workout that lasts an hour or longer, it is a good idea to have a sports drink containing sodium or other electrolytes to help replenish those lost through sweat and rapid breathing (yes, you lose water by simply breathing in and out all day).

Hot and humid climates also require more intake, as does spending time at elevations about 8.500 feet (which isn’t hard to do around here).

Open wounds and skin disorders also sap water from your body, so it is important to drink more if that is a problem for you.

Bottom line, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms or signs I listed earlier, you may want to try drinking more water and see if they improve.

Monitor the amount and color of your urine to help determine if you are getting enough fluids.

Stay healthy and hydrated, friends!