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We all know water is essential to our survival, and our health. But how much water should we be drinking each day? Research shows a variety of opinions among health officials, but the real answer is there isnt one recommendation that fits each person as an individual. Some of us may have been following the 8x8 rule, eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day, while others may feel thats too much or not enough water. One thing remains though, we absolutely do NEED to hydrate.
We know that water makes up 55-75% of our bodies, so dehydration is not an option if we want to remain healthy. It is a crucial part of regulating body temperature, keeping joints lubricated, minimizing cramping and injury, delivering nutrients to cells, flushing toxins, preventing infections, and keeping our organs functioning properly. Hydration can even affect your cognition, mood, and sleep quality. So, do you think youre drinking enough?
Some experts recommend drinking eleven 8 ounce cups of water a day, some still recommend the 8x8 rule mentioned above, while others recommend half of your body weight in ounces (e.g. 160 lb person would drink 80 oz). Whichever water plan you choose to follow there is more than just your actual water intake to keep in mind, especially as an athlete.
Our bodys water balance is based on loss of water through sweating, breathing, elimination (solid and liquid), as well as water gain taken in through the foods and variations of drinks you consume.
That coffee, tea, soda, and sports drink all provide you with a certain amount of water, but some are better sources of water than others (duh, you already knew Diet Coke wasnt a great source of water!). Along with those beverages, the kinds of food you eat are a huge factor in your water balance. That cheeseburger you love will provide you with a much lower amount of water than the fruits and vegetables you should be consuming daily. A large number of fruits and vegetables actually include between 70-99% water, which is why we should be including them in every single meal.
As a runner, youll want to be conscious of how much you are sweating during a run or workout and rehydrate by drinking water before, during, and after your workout. You may also want to consume some carbohydrates and electrolytes during long or vigorous workouts when youre sweat rate is much higher, especially in higher temperatures. We all lose more water through sweat in the warmer seasons, but vigorous activity compounds that so your water and electrolytes become even more important during these times.
The bottom line is that hydration is essential to your health. As an athlete or even just a health-conscious individual, you should have a plan for consuming the proper amount of water daily. That way you can be your best self in life and in your sport!
Share your water tips with us in the comments below or on social media with #urstronger
The Important of Hydration. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health. 2017. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/the-importance-of-hydration/
Brandon Specktor. How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink?. Live Science, January 7th, 2018. https://www.livescience.com/61353-how-much-water-you-really-need-drink.html
Hydration for Runners. Brigham Health Hub. https://brighamhealthhub.org/healthy-living/hydration-for-runners
Barry M. Popkin, Kristen E. DAnci, Irwin H. Rosenberg. Water, Hydration, and Health. PubMed Central, August 1st, 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/