Ahhh, iced-cold WATER. Just saying the word kind of cools you down, doesn’t it? And since we’re well into the dog days of summer, let’s talk about water and how much you really need. Somewhere along the way, it was pounded into our brains that we should drink about 8 cups, each day. I know plenty of people who get really worked up if they only make it to 7, and plenty more who think a cup is one of those 16-ounce tumblers.
So let’s clear up the confusion.
Here’s How Much You Really Need:
The 8 cups a day rule is really 8 – 8 ounce cups or roughly 64 ounces each day, and that covers it for most people, but it’s just an estimate. To know exactly what your body requires involves a bit of math. If math is not your strong suit, stick with the 64 ounces a day rule. If you want to work the math, here’s the formula:
30mL x your weight in kg = minimum milliliters of fluid your body needs each day
to convert your weight to kilograms: divide your weight by 2.2
to convert the milliliters to ounces: multiply the mL by .034 (or just use this online calculator) :
You’ll notice that the more you weigh, the more fluid you need, but that 64 ounces rule covers most of us.
You Probably Don’t Need To Drink As Much As You Think:
Water is great because it’s calorie free and clean hydration, but in reality, any fluid will hydrate you – even your morning coffee or tea, the milk in your cereal, or your afternoon smoothie. It all counts, so as long as you’re drinking anything throughout the day, you’re probably fine. There’s also LOTS of water in fruits and vegetables, so if you’re working on increasing those, you’re even more than fine. Here’s a great graphic from Workout Box that illustrated just how much water is in that produce:
More is Not Necessarily Better!
It can be easy to get carried away with our healthy habits, and while drinking lots of water seems pretty harmless, it can actually have adverse effects for some people. If you’re exercising strenuously, and sweating a lot, AND you’re drinking water constantly, you may be at risk. There is a condition called exercise-associated hyponatremia, whereby your kidneys can’t excrete all of that water quickly enough, and the sodium in your body becomes diluted. It can be dangerous, and even deadly. It’s rare, so don’t panic, but if you’re an endurance athlete, or just pounding plain water constantly while doing lots of yard work, you might want to rethink your drink.
The newest guidelines published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine suggest that endurance athletes just drink when thirsty, and not in excess. Drinking electrolyte-balanced sports drink also helps replace fluid, while providing a bit of sodium and potassium to keep everything balanced. For those of us who are not elite athletes, just take a snack break and eat some fruit and a handful of pretzels with that glass of water, and you’ll get all of the fluid and electrolytes that you need.
[bctt tweet=”Pace yourself. Excessive water drinking may be too much of a good thing. “]
Are you a big water drinker? Do you ever think about getting TOO much?