Do you ever find yourself halfway through your workday, and then you realize that the water bottle you filled up with good intentions this morning is still completely full? You are not alone!
We know staying hydrated is important, but let's learn WHY hydration is important and just how much water and fluid your body needs.
Why is Hydration so Important?
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, which means we need to replenish that supply regularly. Water plays a crucial role in the body. Replacing these fluids and staying hydrated helps you by:
- Regulating your body temperature.
- Aiding in digestion.
- Keeping your skin looking healthy.
- Preventing headaches.
Hydration can also play a role in increasing your energy levels because even being mildly dehydrated can zap your energy. Now that we know WHY staying hydrated is important, let's address the bigger question...
How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?
The answer is that it depends. Factors like activity level, body weight, and climate can all impact how much water you need. In other words, hydration is highly individualized to your unique needs!
As a general guideline, aim for at least 64 oz (or 8 cups) of water per day as a baseline and up to ½ your body weight in ounces of fluid. A handy tip is to monitor your urine output and color: a light pale yellow indicates you are doing a pretty good job, while a dark yellow signals that you need more fluids.
Of course, reaching your hydration goal doesn't limit you to drinking water alone. While water is an excellent choice, you can also include a variety of other beverages and foods to help you stay hydrated! Try adding some of these hydration helpers:
- Coconut Water
- Sports Drinks
- Sparkling Waters
- Herbal Teas
While caffeine is a chemical that has diuretic properties, meaning it can increase urine production, studies generally indicate that the fluid in caffeinated beverages usually counterbalances this effect at typical caffeine levels.* While the FDA recommends no more than 400mg of caffeine per day because coffee isn't as hydrating as other beverages, try to stick to 1-3 cups a day to allow room for more hydrating choices.
So enjoy your coffee, but make sure it isn't your only beverage of choice!
4 Simple Ways to Drink More Water
You know why hydration is important and how to determine how much fluid you need daily. Now it's time to start making it a habit! Try using these simple ways to start incorporating more fluids into your daily routine:
- Carry a water bottle (that you actually like to drink out of) with you daily. Your water bottle is just another part of you now.
- Try fruit-infused water or flavor water packets to make your water taste better. A fan favorite is a strawberry, lemon, and cucumber-infused water. (Some water supplement packets can secretly be high in sugar, so check the sugar content if that is something you are being mindful of!)
- Swap a cup of coffee for non-caffeinated herbal tea.
- Attach drinking water to a habit you already do daily. For example, keep a glass of water beside your bed and drink right when you wake up. Have a commute to work? Plan to drink 8 oz of water on your drive to and from work. Cooking dinner for the fam? Sip on a glass of fruit-infused water as your prepping.
*Killer SC, Blannin AK, Jeukendrup AE. No evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-over study in a free-living population. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 9;9(1):e84154. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084154. PMID: 24416202; PMCID: PMC3886980.