You may be surprised to learn that our bodies are made up of 50-70% water. Water has many roles in the body including maintaining blood volume and body temperature, acting as a solvent for chemical reactions, and as a carrier of nutrients and wastes. As the weather warms up and we spend more time outdoors it’s good to review how much water we need and how to monitor if you are getting enough fluid to keep properly hydrated.
I’m sure that someone has told you that to stay properly hydrated you should have at least 8 – 8 ounce glasses of water a day. The “8x8” rule is an easy one to remember which is why it’s a popular way to monitor how much fluid we need. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has determined that the adequate intake of fluid for men is 13 cups and for women it’s 9 cups, which really isn’t too far off from the 8x8 rule. One big difference between the IOM recommendations and the 8x8 rule is that the IOM states “fluid” instead of “water”. All beverages can count towards our required fluid intake for a day, except for alcoholic beverages. We recommend that water makes up the majority of your fluid intake as it’s readily available and calorie free.
The best indicator of how hydrated you are is the color of your urine. The urine of a well hydrated person is pale yellow and clear. If your urine is dark yellow, smelly and/or cloudy you should take in more fluids. Drink enough fluids to prevent thirst, as thirst is not a reliable indicator of how hydrated you are. Here are a few tips to help stay hydrated this summer:
- Drink water or a low calorie beverage with every meal
- Have a water bottle handy at all times and aim to drink at least 8 ounces of water between meals
- Make sure to drink water before, during and after exercise
We hope you enjoy the outdoor fun times WI summer has to offer as much as we do!