02 Oct Hydration – How much Water you Need and When to Add Electrolytes
Okay. It’s hot. We’re sweating. A lot. And we think we’re hydrating enough, right? After all, we’re drinking water as much as possible. But we still sometimes feel that woozy ‘maybe-it-wasn’t-enough’ twinge. How much water do we even need, anyway? And is just water good enough? What about when you add in exercise? How do we accommodate for added fluid loss before, during, and after physical activity?
Fluid intake is tricky. We’ve been taught to get those 8 daily glasses of water in, but this is sometimes tricky to track. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re losing fluids. And, sometimes, it’s even possible to over-hydrate. This occurs when an extreme excess of liquid is imbibed and vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes become diluted; this eventually results in muscle cramping and can even pose a threat to heart health (yikes!!).
Ultimately, however, a healthy human does need about 30 to 50 ounces of fluid a day to simply maintain their body system’s functionality (add more if you’re active). This amount should not, however, be consumed in large amounts or all at once. It’s spread over the course of a day and is best tracked with meals; have a glass of water over the course of breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as with in-between-meal snacks.
Further, electrolytes, minerals like potassium and sodium that help create energy and regulate the body’s systems (circulatory, muscular, nervous, etc.), are super important and, if we only intake water, we might neglect regulation of these minerals! If you’re sweating a lot you might add an electrolyte tablet (I love NUUN tablets for this purpose) to a glass of water when it is exceptionally hot or after a workout.
Ways to increase fluid intake without drinking more water (heck- high water intake increases our amount of daily bathroom trips and this can get a little frustrating) are also abundant: eat fruits and vegetables dense in fluids (apples, oranges, watermelon, carrots, tomatoes, bell-peppers, etc.), and drink smoothies (mix up a colorful whirlwind of your favorite fruits and vegetables alongside nut or regular milk).
Altogether, it is most important you listen to your body! You’ll know when you haven’t had enough fluid (weakness, difficulty concentrating, tiredness, and the tell-tale dry mouth ring a bell?); key is to stay ahead of the curve, finding multiple way to achieve your hydrations during these warm months.