Drinking enough water can be challenging for most people and can become even more of a challenge during the cooler months. When the outside temperature is cooler and we’re not sweating as much, we don’t feel “parched” or the need to drink as much water as we might when it is warmer outside.
Our hydration needs are dependent on our height and weight and change with age, activity level, and diet. Because there are so many factors that play into hydration needs, it can be hard to determine exactly how much water you need, but is important to have an idea of how much water is right for you. To determine this you can go online and use a “water calculator,” and there are many calculations you can find online as well. Here is one of the easier to use formulas I found:
your weight in pounds x 2/3 (or 67%) = ounces of water you need per day
120 pounds x .67 = 80.4 ounces (just over ten cups) of water per day
This formula, from slenderkitchen.com, advises that for every 30 minutes you work out, you should add 12 ounces to your basic water needs. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work out intensely for an hour and a half, so according to this formula, on those days I should add 36 ounces to my total water intake.
Using the above formula, I should be drinking 80 ounces of water a day when I don’t work out, but using two other formulas I found, I should be drinking between 60 to 68 ounces a day when I don’t work out. The only consistent information I’ve found is that for every 30 minutes you work out, you should add 12 ounces of water to your total daily intake.
As you can see, there is some discrepancy with these calculations. You can typically tell if you need to drink more water by paying attention to your bathroom habits. If you are urinating infrequently and have dark colored urine, you are likely dehydrated. Although it is important that you stay hydrated, it is possible to drink TOO much water. If your urine is very pale yellow to clear throughout the day and you find yourself urinating frequently, you may need to cut back on your water intake. Some other telltale signs that you might be on the verge of dehydration are sleepiness, headache, dry mouth, dry skin, and dizziness.
As previously mentioned hydration levels also depend on what you eat. Fruits and vegetables provide water as well as obvious foods like soup (although most soups contain high sodium levels which can dehydrate the body). And water isn’t the only liquid that hydrates – milk (both dairy and non-dairy) and caffeine-free beverages like decaf coffee and tea can also keep the body hydrated.
Filling a large water bottle with room temperature water and setting it on your desk can help remind you to drink enough water during the winter days, and always make sure to take a bottle of water with you to your workout. Sipping a hot cup of decaf tea on a cold winter day is one of my favorite ways to try to stay hydrated during the winter. However you prefer to remain hydrated, make sure to be aware of possible signs of dehydration in yourself and those around you.
Think positive, stay active, and smile. -A
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