It’s been hot. Like really, really hot. And it’s got me thinking about hydration a lot more. The “eight 8-ounce glasses” recommendation gets thrown around a lot, but how accurate is it really? And why has it become the default? Every day your body sheds some water through respiration (good ol’ breathing), sweat, urine, and other really important metabolic activities. So if you don’t consume enough water, you start to experience symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating. At that point you’re dehydrated. Being chronically dehydrated can disrupt normal body functions and contribute to several issues like constipation and kidney stones—ain’t nobody got time for that.
I’m sure you’ve heard that water makes up about two-thirds of your body and about 70% of the weight in your muscles comes from water. But also consider this: fat cells are devoid of water, and for both lean men and women water makes up an even greater percentage of their totally body weight. Water is important for the regulation of body temperature. If you did MURPH, you might have learned like I did that body temperature makes a big fat difference in performance. Dehydration is a nasty issue for a lot of reasons but when it lessens your ability to regulate your temperature, it negatively affects your ability to work to your full potential and has serious health consequences. Drink plenty of water before and after your workouts to ensure you’re able to put forth full effort! But how much do you need to be drinking? Those eight cups a day would mean 64 ounces…about 2 liters a day. More specific recommendations have come about recently, and I think they are an upgrade. Experts say that healthy grown people between the ages of 31 and 70, living in climates like ours, should follow this:
- Men:125 ounces (3.7 liters) of water per day from all dietary sources, which include drinking water, tea, coffee, flavored waters, and food. (Yep, food can be hydrating! Mainly fruits and veggies.)
- Women:91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water per day from all dietary sources.
I have a 32oz water bottle and I feel best when I get at least 2 of those on top of some coffee and LaCroix. Everyone is different, of course, and this is where individualization comes in. Some studies show that low intake of water doesn’t always equal dehydration. The biggest judge of dehydration is urine output. The more fluids you drink the more you pee. And the more lightly colored you can keep your urine the better you’ll be.
Remember, when temperatures soar like they are currently, you’ll need more water then ever! And if you’re feeling moody, drink water! We know it is tied to our ability to regulate our mood. Just writing this has made me thirsty.