Staying Hydrated: Staying Healthy

Articles
November 17, 2002

Staying Hydrated: Staying Healthy

Most adults lose about 10 cups of water every day through normal body functions including perspiration and breathing. To keep your body working properly, you need to replace the water you lose. Here are some tips to stay healthy and hydrated

Most adults lose about 10 cups of water every day through normal body functions including perspiration and breathing. To keep your body working properly, you need to replace the water you lose. Here are some tips to stay healthy and hydrated.

How Much and What Should You Drink? Adults need around 8 - 12 cups of water per day depending on activity level. This can come from water itself or from other liquids such as low-fat milk and fruit juices as well as foods.

If you are participating in strenuous activities, try replenishing fluid loss with sports drinks. These are frequently marketed as power drinks and can be beneficial especially if you are exercising in hot humid conditions. The simple form of carbohydrate in the drinks, called glucose is a good energy source for muscles. Whatever you choose, become a good label reader. Serving sizes, calories and the amount of sugar added can vary greatly. Keep in mind that drinks with caffeine and alcohol can act as a diuretic and increase fluid loss.

How Can You Avoid Becoming Dehydrated? Dehydration can happen in any season, not just summer and not just on hot humid days. In the winter, heated air evaporates moisture on your skin, and although you may not feel thirsty, you need to replace fluids. Exercising in cold weather can cause you to perspire and become dehydrated as well. If you are going to be physically active, drink fluids on a schedule before, during and after the activity. Experts suggest:

  • 2 cups - 2 hours before you exercise
  • 1-2 cups - 15minutes before you exercise
  • 1/2 to 1 cup - every 15 minutes during activity

Weigh yourself before and after a big workout. For every pound you lose after the activity, drink 2 cups of fluid.

Food As A Source of Liquids: Although you can't really measure the amount of water in the solid foods you consume, there are many foods you can find in your grocery store that are naturally good sources containing at least 90 percent water such as: lettuce, watermelon, broccoli and grapefruit. Milk, low-fat cottage cheese, apples, and baked potatoes with skin as well as chicken and beef are also surprisingly good sources.

Source: American Dietetic Association