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5 Facts About Staying Hydrated
Your body depends on water to survive. Two-thirds of our body weight consists of water1; after oxygen, water is the body’s most important nutrient. (See the Mayo Clinic graphic, below). It’s important to constantly replenish that supply.
It’s easy to get caught up in warm weather activities and forget to drink water during the day. Most people associate vigorous activity or sweating with the need to drink water. Your body can lose water even without sweating and in any climate or temperature.
Here are 5 facts you need to know about staying hydrated:
- Water intake doesn’t have to be from water. While plain old water is certainly healthy and beneficial, you can get hydrated from a number of water-dense foods, including watermelon, cucumbers, beets, carrots, and celery.
- Not everyone needs 8 glasses a day. That saying has been around for years, but medical professionals are starting to realize your water intake depends on where you live, how active you are, and your overall health condition. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The adequate intake for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.2
- Check the color of your urine. Perhaps not your ideal way to pass the time, but urine color is a good indication of your hydration. You should be seeing a pale yellow color. And yes, you can even google “urine color charts” to help determine if you need to grab another bottle of water.
- You can drink too much water. It’s rare, but real. In fact, it’s even been in the news a couple times over the past few years. It’s called hyponatremia – and it means the amount of sodium in the blood is lower than normal. This imbalance of water to salt can occur by over-hydrating. But professionals assure us – it would take a very high amount of water intake to reach this condition and it doesn’t mean you should be fearful of drinking water.
- Working out doesn’t mean you need a sports drink. While it’s true you normally see people reach for the Gatorade during halftime at a soccer game, it’s not always necessary. Experts say if you’re working out moderately for an hour or less, plain water is sufficient for hydration. It would take more than an hour of fairly vigorous exercise to start to deplete your electrolytes.