Most people know that staying hydrated is important, but do you know what staying hydrated really means? Staying hydrated means more than just drinking water. Knowing how much to drink and other ways to take in fluids makes staying hydrated easier. Today, we’ll go over what hydration means, what proper hydration does for your body, and how you can make sure that you’re getting enough water.
Hydration and Your Body
Hydration is the process of taking in water, usually through drinking or eating. Water is the main chemical component of your body; on average, about 50% to 70% of your body weight is water.
Every body system and organ needs water to function. Water keeps your temperature regulated, lubricants and cushions joints, and transports waste. Water helps you digest and carries nutrients to your cells. Without water, your body simply cannot function well.
Staying hydrated is simply making sure that your body has enough fluids to work properly. There are many other benefits to staying hydrated, like supple skin, faster recovery times, and avoiding the aches and pains associated with dehydration. Staying hydrated can also help you avoid UTIs and other painful conditions.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
You’ve probably heard that you should drink 8 glasses of water per day as part of a healthy lifestyle– but how much water is that, really? “Glass” isn’t a standardized amount, after all!
Generally, an average, healthy adult in a temperate region needs between 2.7 and 3.7 liters (11.5-15.5 cups) of water per day. This increases if you have a larger body frame or live in a hot climate where you sweat more. This amount covers fluids from water, other beverages, and food.
Usually, about 20% of a person’s fluid intake comes from food, with the rest coming from drinks. Some foods are more hydrating than others; for example, watermelon, cucumbers, and leafy greens like spinach are over 90% water by volume.
Dehydration is a state in which your body doesn’t have enough fluid to function properly. Minor dehydration is common, but serious dehydration can be life threatening if not addressed.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry mouth and throat
- Dry skin
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Decreased urine output
- Dark yellow urine
While most people get sufficient daily hydration from eating and drinking water when they are thirsty, when it’s hot out or when you are exerting yourself, you may need supplemental hydration.
Carrying a reusable water bottle with you is an easy way to stay hydrated. Some people use transparent water bottles with visual markers on the outside to show them exactly how much water they’ve consumed.
Electrolyte drinks and sports drinks can also help with hydration, especially if you start feeling effects like dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache. If you’re sweating a lot, you’re losing salt as well as water– which makes these recovery drinks a helpful option.
Staying hydrated and avoiding dehydration are important for your overall health and wellbeing. For more information and the tools you need for a healthy lifestyle, check out the Complete Care blog or contact us today for all of your healthy lifestyle needs.