Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Heat Is On! Time To Hydrate.

I don't know about elsewhere, but in my neck of the woods (above SF Northern California) we are hitting some high temps. 100 + degrees for the rest of this week for sure!

Higher temps mean the need for more hydration. Recalibrate to hydrate! is a post I put up back in May. The heat drove me to review it!

I think we can all agree that water reins supreme as the best way to hydrate.

So how much do you need?
According to this article I found on the Mayo Clinic website;

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

Got your measuring cups out yet? No need to, unless of course you are under a doctor's advice to do so. Or its competition day for a figure/bodybuilding competition you've gotten yourself into.
Getting overhydrated or water intoxication is not very common. But as a warning, that adorable and fearless teeny-tiny tike boldly jumping in and out of the pool over and over again and burping between ginormous gulps of water could be at some risk for water intoxication. Swimming is an important skill at about any age, but watch those babies closely. To much water in their little bodies can thin out their blood , thus available oxygen, and thin out their electrolytes

What about the eight 8-oz. glasses of fluid a day?
It's a catchy phrase, but not necessarily one to get all neurotic about. Drinking around 8x8 glasses of fluid a day is a great template to keep in mind, but mind what you drink.

Beverages that are caffeinated, have alcohol or are sugary should not be relied upon. Caffeine and alcohol can behave as diuretics in the body and metabolizing sugary drinks taxes your body's hydration, as well as the sodium (as if there weren't enough reasons to avoids sugary drinks). A cuppa joe, a glass of vino or -gasp-  soda should be considered "gravy". Add a few extra cups of water if slamming cups of coffee or really living foot-loose and fancy free with a pitcher margaritas.

Fruits and vegetables can be an important source of hydration, as many of them may be as much as 90% water. Forget juice though, unless you maybe water it down with, what else, water. Better yet, put just a splash of juice in a glass of ice cold sparkling water.

If your urine is only lightly colored or clear and you're not suffering from constant thirst, then you're probably in the ballpark of proper hydration.

Special circumstances?

Short bouts usually need a couple extra cups of hydration worthy fluid, depending on how much you sweat as an individual (I make puddles). Longer, more intense bouts, around 90 minutes or more, require more hydration. Those longer bouts may also require some electrolyte replacement. Grab that commercial sports drink if you must (is there a font for cynicism?). Or perhaps go for a healthier alternative and grab a coconut water, like Zico or Vitacoco. Katie "The Wellness mama" over at has some recipes for  natural, homemade sports drink alternatives.


Hot weather and/or high altitudes = a greater need for hydration. Higher altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and an increase in respiration rates, which can tax the body of its hydration.

Vomiting, fever, diarrhea can severely dehydrate the body in short order. Even if it seems it will only come up or out, keep the fluids coming. And then a bit more than usual as you start to recover. No fun getting over the trots only to suffer the effects of dehydration.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding;
According to the Mayo Clinic article, about 10 cups a day if you're growing it and a whopping 13 cups a day if  you're the personal dairy. I've found myself on the wrong end of this hydration equation a time or two through my days
of breastfeeding a little one. One occasion landed me in the ER due to food poisoning while I was still breastfeeding an infant.

I hope this information is helpful. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a drink of water.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

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