Hydration is a word that is often thrown around, but do we really understand it? Yes, drinking adequate amounts of water is part of maintaining a proper hydration balance; however, there is a little bit more to it. Sometimes, we may even need additional help keeping our bodies fully hydrated depending on our activity levels and other factors! Keep on reading to learn more about this vital part of your health and well-being.
What is Hydration?
In its simplest terms, Hydration refers to your body’s saturation of water and it is directly related to the amount of water available for your body to absorb based on your overall liquid intake.1 The exact opposite is dehydration, a state where your body has lost more water than you are consuming.2
Why is it Important?
Water is often called “the elixir of life” and for good reason. In fact, your body is mostly made up of water and, while specific amounts can vary, in general the following are true:
- Newborns are ~78% water
- Adult men are ~60% water
- Adult women are ~55% water
Every cell and organ in our body is composed water. Even bones are 31% water! Since it’s everywhere in our body, it serves some very essential purposes including:
- Regulating body temperature
- Removing waste from your system
- Cushioning organs
- Lubricating joints
- Transporting nutrients throughout your body3
That’s some vital stuff, which is what makes dehydration so potentially dangerous. Not having enough water means that your body’s ability to perform all these functions is impaired. Why exactly? As your body works to maintain balance, more water moves out of your cells than back into them. When this happens, electrolytes like sodium and potassium are also lost. These electrolytes power cellular function and without them your cells literally cannot function properly.4
Is Drinking Water enough?
Drinking water is the foundation to staying hydrated. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined recommends around 3.7 liters of water per day for men and around 2.7 liters of water per day for women. Overall intake should be adjusted based on your activity level, environment and healthy.4
However, there are other ways we can also ensure to keep our body hydrated including:
- Regularly eating fresh fruits and vegetables – they are FULL of water and can contribute up to 20% of our daily fluid requirements.
- Consuming electrolyte replacements – unfortunately water alone can’t correct electrolyte imbalances from dehydration. Consuming beverages or supplements (like AdvoCare Rehydrate®) to help replenish essential minerals can be in important part of your hydration strategy.5
Tips to Stay Hydrated.
Knowing that even as little as a 1.5% loss in fluid can cause you to become dehydrated, prevention can often be the best strategy.6 Here are some tips to help make sure you are properly hydrated:
- Monitor your thirst – it may seem counter intuitive, but if you don’t feel thirsty that usually means your fluid intake is adequate
- Check urine color – colorless or light-yellow urine means your body should have enough water
- Use a water bottle – keep it with you throughout the day and even set reminders to take sips!
- Proactively replace electrolytes – if the weather is warm or you have an active day ahead, start drinking a healthy electrolyte replacement drink early and often throughout
1 Team, C. (n.d.). What is Hydration? Let’s Make Hydration a Priority. Healthera. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.healthera.co.uk/blog/what-is-hydration
2 NCI Dictionary of Cancer terms. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/dehydration
3 The water in you: Water and the human body completed. The Water in You: Water and the Human
Body | U.S. Geological Survey. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.usgs.gov/specialtopics/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body#overview
4 LaMotte, S. (2017, September 28). Benefits of water: Are you getting enough fluids to stay healthy? CNN. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/27/health/benefits-of-water-and-fluids/index.html
5 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, October 14). How much water do you need to stay healthy? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20National%20Academies%20of,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women
6 Kostigen, T. M. (2015, August 8). Staying hydrated is about more than just drinking water. USA Today. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/06/staying-hydrated-more-than-just-drinking-water/31220705