Water is the most crucial (and abundant) liquid on Earth. Every single cell in the human body requires water to carry out chemical reactions. Water accounts for roughly 60% of your body. This is to say that without water, we can’t exist; it is the core of most every physiological process. Thus, this article is going to dive into the 5 rules you need to know about proper hydration. To read more on the benefits of hydration, check out this article from Men’s Fitness magazine.
Rule 1: Keep a Filled Water Jug With You Throughout the Day
While this rule may seem like common sense, many people go about their day without ever drinking much water at all. It is absolutely imperative to have some vessel of water near you throughout the day to ensure you can take drinks as needed and keep hydrated. If you can’t have a bottle/jug with you, then the next best option would be access to water fountains. If both of those are not options than make sure to drink a good bit before you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to water/fluids.
Rule 2: Always be Sipping
Rather than intermittently gulping down large amounts of water, it is more prudent to take smaller sips more frequently throughout the day. This ensures you are keeping a constant supply of fluid in the body as opposed to going through phases of being overly hydrated and dehydrated.
This is why you’ll often see athletes constantly taking sips of water frequently during stoppages in play/timeouts as opposed to chugging a bunch of water before the game and waiting until after to rehydrate. If you have a bottle of water with you throughout the day, try and take at least one sip every 30-45 minutes. You may need to drink more frequently depending on what you’re doing throughout the day (i.e. exercising, working, etc.)
Rule 3: Drink at Least 1 Ounce of Water Per Every Kilogram of Your Body-weight
You often hear people say you drink 8 glasses of water per day (1 glass is assumed to be 8 ounces). The reality is that smaller individuals and larger individuals have different requirements of how much water/fluid they need daily to keep hydrated properly.
The best rule of thumb to go by is drinking at least 1 ounce of water per every kilogram of body-weight, over the course of the day. One kilogram is equal to about 2.2lbs, so to convert your body-weight in pounds to kilograms, simply divide it by 2.2. For example, a 180-lb individual should drink: 180/2.2=~82 ounces of water/fluid per day.
The only exception to this rule would be individuals who are extremely active as they might benefit from drinking upwards of 2 ounces of water per every kilogram of body-weight.
Rule 4: Water vs. Flavored Fluids
Make no mistake that flavored fluids like juice and soda are indeed still fluids (with water as the major component) but they don’t necessarily hydrate you the same way pure water does. In fact, certain fluids may actually not hydrate you much at all if they contain a large amount of energy (calories).
Moreover, drinking large amounts of soda and juice can add a large amount of unneeded sugar intake to your daily diet, negating many of the benefits of being on a healthy eating regimen. When in doubt, plain and simple water is the best fluid you can drink to promote proper hydration. Low-calorie and calorie-free flavored liquids are also good options. Some drinks these days even go to the next level and add in certain electrolytes to promote better hydration.
Rule 5: Temperature of Fluids Doesn’t Effect Hydration
Many people may believe that cold water is ideal for hydration, since warm liquids pass through the body slower than cold fluids. However, that is not the case according to scientific literature. What is true, though, is that the body experiences a cooling effect when filled with colder liquid; this promotes a refreshing feeling on hot days.
Moral of the story is that whether you want to warm yourself up with a hot cup of tea on a cold day, or cool off with chilled water on a scorching day, that’s fine—either way it still contributes to proper hydration.
So there you have it, 5 rather simple rules to follow throughout your day to help you keep properly hydrated. Remember that a pragmatic way to check if you’re properly hydrated is noting the color of your urine—if it’s dark yellow, you are most likely not drinking enough water/fluid; if it’s clear, you’re on the right track!