Do you know how much water you need each day?
Summertime means heat, which means dehydration, which gets everyone grabbing water bottles or their eco-friendly thermoses. We were all taught the daily eight glasses of eight ounces of water rule in order to maintain a healthy functioning body. Water helps our body function correctly, digest food, aids in our metabolism, regulates body temperature and much more. But can one rule really apply to people of different gender, height, weight, age, health and activity level – of course not. But I guess when teaching a class of third graders, the eight by eight rule would be the easy (and most memorable) option.
It’s not that the body requires water for daily functioning (although it is the best option), it requires a set amount of fluids. What is the daily amount needed and where else can you get these fluids have been debatable for years. Your fluid intake comes from the foods you eat (i.e. fruits and vegetables) and from your daily beverages (i.e. coffee, teas, sport drinks). Some argue that as long as you maintain a healthy diet (which will account for at least 20% of fluid intake) accompanied with water, the eight by eight rule can be disregarded. Another argument provides a mathematical formula to calculate the amount of fluids required: body weight in pounds / 2 = how many ounces of fluids needed daily for healthy functioning. Still, another argument says you should replace whatever is lost. Lost meaning through perspiration, breathing, and during your restroom visits. There is an average value of 2.5 liters lost among adults per day and therefore that should be the amount replaced.
With all the studies and research conducted on the issue, there are too many variables to provide a set amount of fluids for an individual to intake. Pay attention to your body and make your own determination of the amount of fluids to keep it functioning properly. Take in consideration your activity for the day, the climate, your location, and mental state. For instance, you’ll require more fluid intake during the summer than in the winter due to your body perspiring to keep your body at a comfortable temperature. Starting a new exercise program? You know you’ll need more water on hand than you did last week due to your change in activity level. In general, if you’re hydrated through the day and your restroom visits are running colorless or light in color – your water intake amount is at a healthy level.
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