Your body needs water to carry out all of its functions, but often we (especially South Floridians) don’t drink as much as we need. Here, local licensed dietitian Judy Llodra shares tips to keep us out of hot water.
What you need
Even though hydration needs vary from person to person, it’s recommended that women drink nine cups of total fluids per day, while men should drink 13. That number, however, can decrease if you’re eating a lot of water-rich foods. In our hot climate, adding one to three extra cups of fluids every day is suggested.
Refueling after a workout
There’s a simple method to determining how much water to drink during a workout. Before and after exercise, weigh yourself without clothes. For every pound lost, replace it with 13 to 16 fluid ounces during exercise (that’s about one bottle of water per pound lost). It may take longer to feel the effects of hydration when exercising indoors or in a cooler climate. After losing two percent of body water mass in the heat, you may begin to feel dehydrated, but in cooler climates you might not feel the effects until you’ve lost 3 to 4 percent of body water mass.
How much is too much?
Drinking too much water is very rare. But, if you do endurance exercise for more than four hours, like soccer players, you should take special care to prevent a condition called hyponatremia—when there isn’t enough sodium in the blood. In most instances, this is remedied with food or a sports drink.
Hydrate with your food
Fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and soups are foods that hydrate and count toward your daily water needs. Even salty foods can work to keep you hydrated by making you feel thirsty, and caffeinated beverages in moderation can count toward daily water needs. Alcohol, however, is the most important drink to avoid in terms of staying hydrated.