H2Okay! A guide to staying hydrated

Water. It’s all around us, and quite literally is us. About 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water and the average adult women is 55% water. Every cell in your body requires water to function properly. Your body uses it to maintain temperature, take nutrients to your cells and flush toxins. Too little water affects body function. If you’re even mildly dehydrated you’ll feel sluggish and less focused.

To properly maintain hydration, people often refer to the easily remembered 8 by 8 rule – which translates to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. According to The Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake for women is actually about 9 cups of water each day, or about 2.2 litres. But keep in mind that all fluids count towards the total.

How much water you need depends on factors including your overall health, physical activity and where you live. When you exercise or are participating in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to compensate for fluid loss. The Mayo Clinic recommends an additional 1.5 to 2.5 cups. And if you’re doing intense exercises, sports drinks with sodium reduce the chance of hyponatremia – a dangerous loss of sodium in the blood. It’s also recommended to continue hydrating after your workout.

Your environment is another factor in staying hydrated. Humidity and heat lead to more sweating and consequently deplete you. And if you’re at higher altitudes, it’s also recommended to increase fluid intake. 

If you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, you’ll need to replenish depleted fluids. But certain medical conditions may effect water excretion and require limiting your intake. In those cases it’s important to consult your doctor.

But you don’t need to drink water to get hydration. Food accounts for 20% of water intake. And for a quick hydration fix watermelon or spinach are both ideal since they’re 90% water.

A great way to enjoy water and ensure you’re drinking enough is to infuse it.  Try a slice some slices of lime or cucumber, a few raspberries or even some fresh peaches and basil to keep things fresh and fun. Salut!