Proper hydration is essential for good health during hot summer months. How much water should you drink each day? It's a simple question with debatable answers; studies have produced varying recommendations over the years. The bottom line? Water requirements depend on many factors including individual health, activity levels, and geographic location.
Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Water is needed in blood to transport oxygen to working muscles; in urine to eliminate metabolic waste products; in regulating body temperature to lose heat through sweating; and for digestion and absorption. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel lethargic. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, dizziness, muscle weakness, and thirst.
Outdoor physical activity such as gardening, hiking, biking, and other recreational activities enhance the need to replace fluids. In addition to athletes, weekend warriors should not rely on thirst to remind them to reach for the Sigg water bottle. Being thirsty at this point is a sign of dehydration. Fluid needs vary from one individual to another; there are general guidelines athletes can follow for staying properly hydrated during exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has revised recommendations for proper hydration and exercise. Drinking before, during, and after physical activity is vital for proper performance and recovery.
Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day. Try a simple hydration calculator that analyzes several internal and external factors.
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