Hydration Guidelines

I found some hydration guidelines at my gym and I thought I’d share some of the information.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

You’ll see a wide variety of numbers for water requirements for healthy adults.  When I searched for hydration guidelines for adults and found a range of recommendations.

I saw that we should drink eight 8-ounce (just shy of two liters) glasses of water per day. I saw higher and lower numbers too.

You can find calculators online that will take your weight and tell you how much water you need to consume. I found one that seemed to be hosted by some diet blogger. It said I should drink 119 ounces of water per day, which is the same as 14.9 Cups or 3.53 Liters). That seems excessive.

I’m not going to recommend a particular number but I know that I don’t drink as much water as I should. I think if you started with the 64 ounces (eight 8-cups), you’d figure out if you need more or less.

It is possible to drink too much water so don’t get carried away with your water consumption.

Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

Why should we care about how much water we consume each day? What’s the big deal?

Here’s a list of benefits that Harvard Health Publishing put out:

  • carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • flushing bacteria from your bladder
  • aiding digestion
  • preventing constipation
  • normalizing blood pressure
  • cushioning joints
  • protecting organs and tissues
  • regulating body temperature
  • maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance

I can think of a couple of more benefits. Drinking water helps make your skin look better.

I’ve also read that drinking water can help you to lose weight.

Signs of Dehydration

The most obvious sign of dehydration is that you’re thirsty. Sometimes though, we don’t have enough fluids in our bodies and we aren’t necessarily aware of it.

Here are some signs:

  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • Irritability
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin

I just want to point out the irritability sign. Sometimes we are dehydrated, we get cranky. But sometimes when we have eaten, we get cranky. You might try drinking a glass of water before you reach for a snack.

How to Drink More Water

Now that we’ve discussed hydration guidelines and how to tell if you’re dehydrated, lets talk about how we can increase how much we drink.

Add pieces of fruit to your water. There’s the traditional lemon slice, which I like, but you can add other fruits as well. Other citrus fruits work well, as do strawberries and perhaps other berries too.

Drink water as part of your routine. Perhaps you start every day with a glass of water. Or every time you eat a meal, you also drink some water. Make water part of your daily habits.

Replace carbonated and sugary drinks with water. I suggest getting some sparkling water as a replacement. I bough a case of Perrier at Costco and I actually consider that water to be a treat, especially when I pour it into a goblet or wine glass.

Get a water bottle that tracks your progress. I’ve seen some very large water bottles out there.

Here’s something I’ve used to track my water and to be honest, I think that it was Chris who gave me this idea. I noted the size of my water bottle and then decided how many times I would need to refill it to reach my goal. If, for example, I need to refill it four times per day, I put four rubber bands around the bottle. When I filled it, I removed a rubber band. If I removed all four rubber bands, I knew that I had drunk my water for the day.

Don’t forget that some foods have a lot of water in them. Watermelon is probably the most obvious one but most fruits have a lot of water in them. Some vegetables, for example, cucumbers, are a good source of water. Also, if you drink milk, there’s water in it.

Hydration Guidelines when Exercising

I try to always have a bottle of water with me when I exercise. If nothing else, taking a drink gives me a break when I’m working out hard.

Exercise increases our need for water. Here are the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommendations:

  • Drink 17 to 20 ounces (about half a liter) of water two to four hours prior to exercising.
  • Drink 8 ounces (about a quarter liter) of water about a half hour before exercising.
  • Drink 7-10 ounces (about a quarter liter) of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
  • Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after exercising.

Conclusion

It’s helpful to know how much water you’re drinking and have a sense of how much water you want to be drinking.

How much water do you drink each day? Do you have any suggestions I didn’t list here? Let me know in the comments below.

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