How Much Water Do You Need?
There is no standard for how much plain water adults and children should drink daily, though there are general recommendations for both women and men. Here’s one rule of thumb: women should drink approximately 2.7 liters of water each day while men should average 3.7 liters of total water.
How to Stay Hydrated
The key to staying safe and healthy this summer is staying hydrated. And the key to staying hydrated? Follow these easy tips:
- Drink water—and plenty of it!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Start by drinking a cup of water each morning when you wake up or a glass before bed. Have another glass with every meal. Drink one or two cups after working out. To ward off dehydration, drink fluids gradually throughout the day.
- Know the signs of dehydration.
Does your skin feel dry, irritated, inflamed, itchy, or sensitive? That’s a sign of dehydration. Experiencing a headache or feeling dizzy or fatigued? These are signs, too. Muscle cramps, rapid breathing, fainting, and not urinating (or having very dark yellow urine) are others. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, the simple solution is to get out of the heat and drink plenty of liquids. There are small over-the-counter options like Pedialyte and Hydralyte that balance out electrolytes and sodium with dehydration as well. If your dehydration is severe, call 911.
- Check your urine.
A good measurement of hydration is the color of your urine. Pale urine, similar to the color of straw, indicates proper hydration while darker urine is a sign that you need more water. A dark yellow or amber color means you may have mild to severe dehydration. Of course, other medications and health conditions could affect this. If you’re concerned about the color of your urine, consult with your health provider.
- Cool down.
Proper hydration isn’t just about drinking water—it’s about regulating your body temperature, too. During summer, when the risk for heat stroke is at its highest, wear light, loose-fitting clothing in light colors; schedule strenuous sports and physical activities during cooler times of the day; protect yourself from the sun with hats and other shade accessories; take drink breaks often; and mist yourself with a spray bottle if you become overheated.
- Eat foods with high water content.
Did you know that approximately 80 percent of our water intake comes from drinking water? The other 20 percent comes from food. All whole fruits and vegetables contain some water, but snack on these for maximum benefit: cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, cauliflower, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, broccoli, and grapefruit. They all contain 90 percent water or higher.
- Choose water during flights.
Airports and flights can be very dehydrating. It’s not easy to drink as much as you usually do when you’re on the go for summer vacation, and airplanes are known for low-humidity air, which contributes to low hydration at touchdown. Pack an empty reusable water bottle with you in your carry-on bag and then fill it up with water after going through security. Skip the vending machines at the airport and ask for water when the beverage cart passes by mid-flight.