Middletown Regional Hospital Offers Tips on Staying Hydrated
Are you drinking enough water? Healthcare professionals have been recommending drinking eight glasses of water per day for optimum health. Now researchers say eight glasses may not be enough to replenish average daily water loss.
Water helps nearly every part of the human body function. Our bodies are composed of about two-thirds water. Blood, kidneys, the heart and lungs are made of 80 percent or more of water. Muscles, the spleen, the brain, the intestines and skin are comprised of between 72 and 75 percent water. Even bones are 22 percent water, and fat tissue is 10 percent water.
On a normal inactive day with moderate temperatures, the body will lose about six glasses of water through normal kidney function and another three to four glasses through the skin and by breathing. That supports the traditional recommendation of drinking eight glasses of water per day. But caffeinated, alcoholic or carbonated beverages have a diuretic effect and can actually increase daily fluid requirements.
"My rule of thumb for water requirements is your weight in pounds divided in half equals the recommended ounces of water you should consume per day," said Tim Linker, MD, Medical Director of Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy at Middletown Regional Hospital. "A 190 pound man who works at a desk should consume 95 ounces of 'liquids' a day, or about 11.9 servings, excluding non-hydrating liquids with caffeine, alcohol or carbonation."
For more active adults and children, that probably won't be enough. If you run, drink eight to 10 ounces of water every 15 minutes during a run and another 10 to 12 ounces immediately following your workout. An athlete can lose between six and 10 pounds, almost all of it water, during a 10K race in hot weather. Following a workout, you need to drink two cups of water for each pound lost.
- Active children lose two or more quarts of water daily, so their bodies need to be continuously replenished. Have your child take water breaks every 15-20 minutes while playing outside or participating in a sports activity. Get your kids in the habit of always carrying cold water in their beverage holder when they go for a bike ride.
- When packing your car for a weekend trip, don't forget to include water in the cooler. Freeze a partially full bottle of water the night before a trip, and you'll have instant chilled water all day long.
- Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water. If you do, you have probably already lost two or more cups of your total body water composition.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Convenience is a must, so carry a bottle of water with you as you commute to work, run errands or enjoy a day at the beach. While at work, keep a bottle of water on your desk, or visit the office water cooler and take a water break rather than a coffee break.
- Don't substitute beverages with alcohol or caffeine for water.
- Don't underestimate the amount of fluids lost from perspiration.
- Start and end your day with water. Your body loses water while you sleep, so drink a serving before bed and again when you wake up.
- Common colds and the flu frequently lead to dehydration. Keep water next to your sick bed and sip it throughout the day.
- When it's warm outside, drink cool water. Cool water is absorbed much more quickly than warm fluids and helps cool off your overheated body.