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Hydration Facts

Exercising over long periods depletes your body of vital water levels, which can affect your physical performance. Drinking water boosts your energy level to help you maintain your athletic edge. And, of course, the better tasting the water the more you will enjoy drinking it. Proper hydration does more than just keep you from getting thirsty. Hydration is the replacement of body fluids lost through sweating, exhaling and normal daily exertion. We need to replenish those fluids to avoid dehydration. It's just as important to stay properly hydrated at the office, at home and at the gym.

How much should you drink?

Determining how much water you should drink each day depends upon your body type, health, how active you are and where you live. Consider the following:

  • Age: Children get overheated easier than adults during exercise because they don't sweat as much. The feeling of thirst actually lags behind water loss, so by the time children feel thirsty, they may already be dehydrated. For seniors, they may not recognize their own thirst signals.
  • Exercise: If you are active, you lose more water than if you are sedentary. In general, most doctors recommend a few extra cups of fluid for intense workout sessions. Plus, if the weather is exceptionally warm, increase your fluid intake even more.
  • Environment: Exposure to hot, humid or arid weather requires additional fluids too. During wintertime, your body's increased efforts to regulate warmth and dryness from heated indoor air, both require additional fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy and/or breast-feeding: As recommended by doctors, pregnant and/or breast-feeding women need additional fluids since large amounts of water are needed by the growing fetus and are lost during nursing.
  • Traveling: When traveling on an airplane, it is probably a good idea to drink additional water for every hour you are on board the plane. As you can see, your daily need for water can add up to quite a lot.
  • Other beverages: Alcoholic beverages, and to some extent caffeinated beverages too, add to your daily water needs since both beverage types act as diuretics, meaning they encourage the body to lose more water faster than consumed.

Signs of dehydration

It is essential that you are aware of the warning signs of dehydration and heat stress. Early signs include fatigue, light-headedness, appetite loss, flushed skin and heat intolerance. Severe signs include difficulty swallowing, sunken eyes and dim vision, stumbling, clumsiness, numb skin, shriveled skin, delirium and muscle spasms.

It's never a good idea to run low on H2O. Are you drinking enough water?  Water is your body's most important nutrient. Essential for nearly all physiological functions, water helps to maintain body temperature, lubricate and cushion organs, transport nutrients and flush toxins from the body. Your body needs water, even if you don't feel thirsty.

Everyone should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, and an active person should strive for even more. Keep in mind that any beverage can fulfill the requirement (except those containing alcohol and caffeine, as they are diuretics), but water is the healthiest and the most thirst-quenching.

Drink up

On average, your body loses and needs to replace two or three quarts of water a day. To protect your body's hydration level, simply drink more water.

So keep an eye on your body. Are you drinking enough water?There is also some evidence to suggest that a moderate increase in water intake can decrease the risks of some cancers, heart disease and other illnesses in certain people. However, be sure to ask your doctor about your own personal/family history and risk factors. Water is indeed good for everybody and "every body".

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