You’ve probably heard the 8×8 rule of hydration.
This simply states that you should drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. While this generalization is often considered the best recommendation for proper hydration, everyone is different.
Hydration is something that people don’t always take seriously.
They sip on water when they’re thirsty and avoid it when they’re feeling fine. This approach could result in dehydration, which could keep you from getting the results you want from your fitness routine.
Depending on your fitness routine, eight glasses of water may not provide optimal hydration.
You need to determine how much hydration is right for you. And, you need to realize that water isn’t your only source of hydration. There are certain foods that can help quench your thirst.
Find out how much you should be drinking every day and discover 7 of the best foods for hydration.
Why Does Your Body Need Water?
First, it might help to understand why proper hydration is so important. Your body is about 60% water. Your body uses water throughout the day to maintain your internal body temperature, lubricate joints, and protect the brain.
With a lack of water, your body has to work harder. The heart has to pump harder in order to deliver blood through your system. Your brain won’t function as efficiently. As dehydration sets in, you’ll likely become dizzy, fatigued, and may experience intense headaches.
Those are just some of the negative side effects of dehydration. Though, if you continuously drink too much water, you could end up with a condition known as hyponatremia. This condition causes headaches, nausea, cramps, and possibly coma or death.
This means you don’t want to drink too much water and you don’t want to end up dehydrated. The 8×8 rule is sufficient for most people, but it doesn’t address your specific needs. If you work out regularly, you might need a little more water.
How to Determine Your Daily Water Requirements
So, how much water should you drink? The Institute of Medicine recommends that men drink about 13 cups of fluids per day and about 9 cups for women. This is a little more than the 8-cup recommendation, which helps account for increased activity.
Another method that some people use to determine their daily water intake requires you to use your weight. Simply divide your weight, in pounds, in half. The result is the number of ounces of fluid that you need each day.
For example, if you weigh 160-pounds, you would 80-ounces of water. If you divide this by 8, you get the total number of cups that you’d require – which would be 10 for a 160-pound individual.
In order to account for your activity level, you might want to base your water intake on your caloric intake. The more active you are the more water you’ll need. So, this could be the best option for people with an active lifestyle.
To determine your water intake based on calories, multiply your total daily calories by 0.034. This result is the number of ounces that you should drink. So, if you consume 2000 calories per day, you would require 68-ounces of fluid – or 8.5-cups.
Which option should you use? There is debate as to which option is best. Calculating based on weight or calories gives you a recommendation that is based on your body and your needs. This means that if you want the most accurate estimate, these two options are your best bet.
But, if you don’t feel like doing the math, you can simply use the 9 and 13-cup recommendation for women and men.
7 Thirst-Quenching Foods to Include in Your Diet
Water should be your primary source of hydration. It’s the best source of H2O and you get for free from your kitchen. But, you can supplement your hydration with certain foods.
The following 7 foods have a lot of water content, which means that they can help with hydration. They can also help you stay hydrated longer.
So, along with the daily water requirement discussed, you might want to try including a few of these items in your daily diet:
Melons, berries, and the other fruit in this list have high-water contents. They also bring a few added advantages, since most of these items have beneficial nutrients that can help with recovery.
For example, celery contains a lot of fiber, which can aid digestion and your metabolism. Peppers, including red bell peppers, are great sources of vitamin C. Berries contain antioxidants that can fight joint pain and post-workout inflammation.
You can also use a few of these items to give your water a splash of flavor. Simply squeeze some of the juice from a melon or berries to make your own flavored water.
Final Thoughts on Proper Hydration
In the end, what really matters is that you stay properly hydrated. Whether you choose to measure your liquids or simply keep yourself hydrated throughout the day, you need to pay attention to your body.
If you notice any of the signs of dehydration, then you could probably use a glass of water. These signs include headaches, nausea, and brain fog.
It’s easy to forget about hydration during a busy day. So, remind yourself to grab a sip of water whenever you get the chance – when you go on a break, during your workouts, before meals, and any time that you pass the kitchen.
Also, don’t forget that water isn’t the only source of H2O. All fluids that you drink count towards your hydration. But, sugary drinks also provide you with unneeded calories and sodium.
If you don’t like drinking water all day, you can supplement your hydration with foods with a high water content. Remember to try including some of the foods mentioned.
Cut up fresh fruit and take it with you to work or have a quick snack after your workouts.
Staying hydrated is an essential part of staying healthy. Whether you want to lose weight, stay in shape, build strength, or improve your overall health – it all starts with hydration.