Obviously, nutrition plays a huge role in our physical makeup and overall health. But water and hydration play an equally important one. Unfortunately, the majority of the population walk around severely dehydrated throughout the day without knowing it. Dehydration can cause you to feel fatigued and lethargic. It can disrupt your ability to focus, and it can make it difficult to perform challenging physical tasks. It also stops up your digestion system, making your bowl movements irregular. Overall, it is a stressor on the body, and it can keep you from feeling your best.
These side effects are perpetuated by the idea that people only need to drink 64oz of water daily. And they are only made worse by many people choosing to drink pop, juice, coffee, and other non-hydrating liquids instead of reaching for a glass of water.
In reality, the average woman needs 96oz of water a day, and the average man needs 120oz. Some of this, we get from the foods we eat, and if you are consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables that have high water content, you should be able to get about 25-30oz from your diet alone. However, much of the typical American diet is processed and has little water to offer. So instead, it is often easier to focus on drinking it throughout the day. Carrying around a water bottle at all times is one of the best ways to remind yourself to keep hydrated.
A couple of things that the 64oz rule doesn’t take into account is the amount of exercise you are getting in a day, causing up to a liter of water loss through sweating, and, if you are a salty food lover, high-sodium intake should be paired with a higher water intake to help flush the excess out of our system. And again, our typical American cuisine is high in sodium.
The important thing is to keep track of the amount of water you are drinking in a day. The best way to monitor your hydration is the WUT method. W stands for workout, so make sure you drink at least 32oz of water within an hour after working out. U stands for urine. If your pee is bright yellow to orange, you are dehydrated and need to consume water. If you pee is light yellow to clear, you are hydrated (side note: taking a multi-vitamin can cause your pee to turn neon yellow even if you are hydrated). And T stands for thirst. If you are feeling thirsty, you are already 2% dehydrated. So do your body a favor and stay on top of drinking water throughout the day!