Well after this past weekend, I think its safe to say that the dog days of summer are officially here. Nothing like temperatures well into the 90s and humidity that styles your hair for you…
It’s days like this that I wish Under Armour had a line of business casual clothes so I wouldn’t be soaked in sweat from walking from my car to the office. Anyways, I naturally get a lot of questions in the summer about hydration and how much water one should drink. Before I get into all of that, let me first talk a little about water.
For starters, about 60% of your body is made up of water so I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it is pretty important. Dorky fact of the day: Water is actually more vital than food. If you were on a deserted island you would die of dehydration long before you were to die of starvation. Besides preventing death, other positive attributes of water include:
- Helps with satiety- A lot of times the brain confuses hunger for thirst so you end up eating when you are actually just thirsty.
- Keeps your skin looking good- Not that water is going to instantly clear up your skin like Proactive or whatever the new acne solution is, but think of your skin as a grape. Now think about what happens when you dry out a grape. You get a raisin right? Which would you rather have your skin look like?
- Has no calories
How much water should I drink?
The recommendation that I was taught in school was to drink 1mL of water for every calorie that you consume. Pretty straight forward right?!? Ok, ok, before you start making an effigy of me to practice voodoo on, let me simplify it for you. To start with, everybody’s water needs are a little bit different just as people’s calorie needs are a little different. Let's take a look at the old adage of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. If you do the math, that equates to about four bottles of water (16 ounce bottles) a day, which as you are about to see isn't that far off. The Institute of Medicine recommends 3 liters a day for men and 2.2 liters per day for women. Thanks IOM but I am pretty sure most Americans don’t use the metric system...
To put that in American terms for you, that is 6.5 bottles for men and 4.5 bottles of water for women (16 ounce bottles). If you are a hippy such as myself and use reusable water bottles, you will have to do the math for yourself.
Do other beverages count towards my fluid intake?
Yes, but some options are better than others. Beverages such as coffee, juice, and soda count, but they are not as good as water is for hydrating your body. Many people often forget that fruits and vegetables contain water as well, such as hmm…let me think…WATERmellon. Other fruits and veggies that are high in water include melons, grapefruit, lettuce, broccoli, etc. so keep that in mind.
What about sports drinks?
Ah….we have arrived at one of my biggest pet peeves! Instead of getting on my soapbox for this one, I am going to keep it real simple for you. If you are working out for less than 60 minutes water is all you need. If you are working out for more than 60 minutes you may want to grab a sports drink or coconut water to help replace your electrolytes and energy stores. If you are drinking a sports drink just for giggles, you may as well be drinking a soda because it is not going to help you in any way shape or form. In those instances of exercising less than 60 minutes, I am going to side with The Waterboy on this one…
What about hot weather and exercise?
Now you guys are getting good with these questions! I am so proud! With the dog days of summer upon us making us glisten with a thin layer of sweat before you even lock your front door, it is important to drink a little bit more fluids to help compensate for the water that you lose via sweat. The same goes for exercise, you will want to drink enough fluids to replace the amount that you lose via sweat during exercise. That being said, you can leave your camelbak at home if you decide to run a 5k…
How can I tell if I am not drinking enough?
There are a couple of different ways that can help you determine if you are consuming enough fluids. The first and most obvious sign is if you are thirsty. Other signs are headaches, fatigues, muscle cramps, and if you are like me, I get a tend to get a little sassy, well let's just say I am more sassy than usual :)
Another sign that you may not think of is the color of your urine. Don’t act like you have never done this before. The ideal color should somewhere around a pale straw color to a light yellow color. Does this mean you should keep color swabs next to the toilet? No, but it is just something to keep in mind. If for some reason this is something you are more interested in, checkout this info graphic for more information.
Breaking it down
With the 90-degree days not going away anytime soon, make water your new best friend. Now if you will excuse me, I have to decide what color of these is the most flattering for my skin tone...
Until next time!
Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,