Human beings must consume a certain amount of water to survive. On average, 60% of the human body is made of H2O. The amount of water a person needs varies, depending on multiple factors, such as age, gender, weight, activity level, and the area of the world where someone lives – living in humid and hot climates or higher altitudes increases the need for water.
Important functions of water in the human body include:
- Digesting system
- Regulating body temperature by sweating and respiration
- Manufacturing hormones and neurotransmitters
- Helping to transport metabolized particles in the blood stream
- Flushing waste through urine output
- Absorbing shock for the brain, spinal cord, and fetus
- Forming saliva
- Lubricating joints
What is the best beverage to drink to stay hydrated? Good old H2O! Yes, water is the best beverage for staying hydrated. Water is perfect, because it quenches thirst, and it is calorie free. Your body does get some fluid through eating fruits, vegetables, soup, smoothies, and consuming other types of beverages like fruit juice, milk, coffee, and soda – but be wary of relying heavily on these for hydration, because these items also have added calories and sugar, which can add up and cause weight gain. Also, be careful when drinking caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee, because caffeine can increase urine output which adds to dehydration.
When planning a higher intensity workout in humid/hot temperatures, sports drinks can be a good choice for a recovery drink, because they have carbohydrates and electrolytes, but they can also be high in added sugar and sodium, so read the label on the side of the bottle to see the serving size and amount of other contents per serving.
The best way to make sure you are drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine. If the urine is colorless or light yellow you are probably getting enough water. But if your urine is a darker yellow or amber color you may be dehydrated.
Here are some take away tips on staying hydrated:
- Carry your own personal re-useable water bottle – it is cheaper and eco-friendly!
- Drink small amounts of water throughout the day starting with first thing in the morning.
- Drink water with your meals.
- Have a pitcher of water in your refrigerator.
- Use citrus fruit wedges and/or fresh mint to liven up the taste of water.
- Make sure to drink water before, during, and after workouts