Fluids work in our body to transport nutrients, eliminate waste, digest food, lubricate joints and cushion organs and tissues. The average 150 pound person is made up of approximately 10-12 gallons of water, so you can easily see why it is vital to make fluids a very important part of your day.
Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding fluid intake:
How do I know if I have had enough to drink?
Thirst is a common indicator of dehydration, however you may not feel thirsty but need more fluids. Even as much as 1% dehydration (or a decrease of 1.5 pounds due to fluid loss) can start to negatively effect your body. The best way to ensure you are getting enough fluids is to monitor your urine output. The more hydrated you are the lighter your urine will appear. If you are dehydrated, your urine will be significantly less and much darker.
How much do I need?
Everyone’s fluid needs are different depending on their activity level but generally you will need between 8 and 10 cups of fluid each day. When you are exercising be sure to drink fluids before, during and after each session. If you are a very strenuous exerciser you may find it helpful to weigh yourself at the beginning and end of your workout to find out how much fluid you have lost.
Do I have to drink only water?
Water isn’t the only fluid hat will help you to meet your needs. Any non-alcoholic fluid such as juice, tea, lemonade, sports drinks, soft drinks, milk, and smoothies are considered a fluid and will add up to your 8 to 10 cups a day. Those drinks that are caffeine free will serve you best when ensuring adequate hydration. In addition, be sure to count the calories in your drinks towards your entire day’s goal so you don’t overdo it!
Carrying a water bottle or alternating between coffee and water throughout the day are easy ways for you up your fluid intake all day long!