WHY IS SO IMPORTAN?
Our body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in our body needs water to work properly.
Look to water first
You should drink water every day. Most people have been toldthey should drink 6 – 8,
ounce glasses of water each day. That’s is a reasonable goal. However. different people
need different amounts of water to stay hidrated. Most healthy people can stay well
hydrated by drinking water and others fluids whenever they feel thirsty.
For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough.
Other people may need more than 8 glasses each
When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important
whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun.
Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy
When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun.
And it’s critical for your heart health.
Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently.
“If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard,” said John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and an American Heart Association volunteer.
Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.
How much water do you need?
What does being well hydrated mean? The amount of water a person needs depends on climatic conditions, clothing worn and exercise intensity and duration, Batson said.
A person who perspires heavily will need to drink more than someone who doesn’t. Certain medical conditions, such as
diabetes or heart disease, may also mean you need to drink more water. People with cystic fibrosis have high concentrations of sodium in their sweat and also need to use caution to avoid dehydration. And some medications can act as diuretics, causing the body to lose more fluid.
Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink. “If you get thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” Batson said.
Batson said the easiest thing to do is pay attention to the color of your urine. Pale and clear means you’re well hydrated. If it’s dark, drink more fluids.
If you want to know exactly how much fluid you need, Batson recommends weighing yourself before and after exercise, to see how much you’ve lost through perspiration. It’s a particular good guide for athletes training in the hot summer months.
“For every pound of sweat you lose, that’s a pint of water you’ll need to replenish,” Batson said, adding that it’s not unusual for a high school football player, wearing pads and running through drills, to lose 5 pounds or more of sweat during a summer practice.
Not sweating during vigorous physical activity can be a red flag that you’re dehydrated to the point of developing heat exhaustion.
Water is best.
For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated. Sources of water also include foods, such fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes, may be useful for people doing high intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.
“It’s healthier to drink water while you’re exercising, and then when you’re done, eat a healthy snack like orange slices, bananas or a small handful of unsalted nuts ,” Batson said.
He cautioned against fruit juices or sugary drinks, such as soda. “They can be hard on your stomach if you’re dehydrated,” he said.
It’s also best to avoid drinks containing caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and causes you to lose more fluids.
Batson says drinking water before you exercise or go out into the sun is an important first step.
“Drinking water before is much more important,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re playing catch-up and your heart is straining.
Not just for athletes or exercise.
Hydration isn’t just important during physical activity. Sitting in the sun on a hot or humid day, even if you aren’t exercising, can also cause your body to need more fluids.
People who have a heart condition, are older than 50 or overweight may also have to take extra precautions.
It’s also a good thing to keep tabs on your hydration if you’re traveling.
“You might sweat differently if you’re in a different climate,” Batson said.
The 5 Best Ways to Rehydrate Quickly
It’s important to rehydrate after any activity that causes heavy sweating, such as an intense workout, sauna session, or hot yoga class.
Rehydrating is also crucial for preventing the damaging effects of dehydration if you have the stomach flu or are recovering from a night of drinking.
This article discusses the signs and symptoms of dehydration and the best ways to rehydrate quickly at home.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body requires water to function.Water helps regulate body
temperature, lubricate joints, transport nutrients, remove waste, and circulate blood. That means your body can’t properly perform these functions if you’re dehydrated, which happens when you lose more fluids than you take in (1Trusted Source).For example, you can become dehydrated from sweating, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or taking diuretic medications that increase fluid loss.Certain populations are more prone to dehydration than others, including children, older adults, and people with certain medical conditions like diabetes and kidney disease (1Trusted Source).The signs and symptoms of dehydration include (1Trusted Source, 2)
- increased thirst
- dry mouth
- infrequent urination
- dry skin
Urine color is also a common indicator of hydration status. Generally, the paler the color, the better hydrated you are. That
said, the color can change for reasons other than your hydration status, including diet, the use of certain medications, and some medical conditions (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Studies have shown that urine color is a valid indicator of hydration in children and young adults but not in older adults (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
If you’re worried about your or someone else’s hydration status, here are the 5 best ways to rehydrate quickly.
While it likely comes as no surprise, drinking water is most often the best and cheapest way to stay hydrated and rehydrate.
Unlike many other beverages, water contains no added sugars or calories, making it ideal to drink throughout the day or specifically when you need to rehydrate, such as after a workout.
It’s worth noting that a variety of factors, including genetics, cause some people lose more sodium via their sweat than others. You
ight be a “salty sweater” if you get frequent muscle cramps with exercise or if your sweat stings your eyes (8Trusted Source).
Coffee and tea contain the stimulant caffeine, which can be transiently dehydrating in excess amounts, as it acts like a diuretic (10Trusted Source).
However, drinking coffee and tea in moderate amounts can be as hydrating as drinking water and serve as an energizing alternative.
Caffeine becomes dehydrating only in doses around 250–300 mg, the equivalent of two to three 8-ounce (240-ml) cups of coffee, or five to eight 8-ounce (240-ml) cups of tea (11Trusted Source).
In a study, 50 regular coffee drinkers drank 4 cups (800 ml) of coffee containing 1.8 mg of caffeine per pound (4 mg per kg) of body weight daily. It observed no significant differences between coffee and water in regards to hydrating ability (12Trusted Source).
In addition to supplying a host of nutrients, milk has excellent hydrating properties.
Milk naturally contains high concentrations of electrolytes, which help balance the amount of water in your body (13Trusted Source).
Research has shown that skim and low fat milk rehydrate you as well as popular sports drinks after intense exercise, all while providing protein and other important nutrients (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Comprising 80–99% water, fruits and vegetables make for a perfect hydrating snack (20Trusted Source).
For comparison, highly processed foods like cookies, crackers, cereals, and chips contain only 1–9% water (20Trusted Source).
Fruits and vegetables with the highest water content include:
Stock up on a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and keep cubed watermelon in your fridge for easy and convenient access.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, and in some cases, they’re more nutritious.
It often takes days or even weeks before fresh fruits and vegetables make it to your plate. During that time, oxidation can cause nutrient loss. On the other hand, frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen shortly after harvesting, which retains most of their nutrients.
Oral hydration solutions are specialized formulas used to prevent and treat dehydration caused by diarrhea or vomiting.
They have also been promoted to bolster exercise recovery and prevent or treat hangovers.
These solutions are water-based and commonly contain electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium, as well as sugar, typically in the form of dextrose. Some commercial solutions also contain other ingredients like prebiotics and zinc.
While these rehydration drinks help replace lost fluids and electrolytes, they can be expensive (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
Fortunately, you can make your own using these common kitchen ingredients (24):
- 34 ounces (1 liter) of water
- 6 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Combine them in a large bowl or pot and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. You can use flavor enhancers to improve the taste if desired — just keep in mind that they may contain artificial or natural sweeteners and flavors.