With summer at the height of its heat and humidity, we love to cool off with afternoons at the pool or days at the beach. But in all the water fun outside, we can’t forget our water intake. Even if we know we can’t live without it, we may be a fuzzy on the facts: How can we hydrate? How much do we need each day? Here are four myths you may have heard about hydration, and the truth behind them — just in time for temperatures that push the triple digits.
Myth: I need to drink eight glasses of water every day.
A 2002 Dartmouth Medical School study showed the eight glasses theory is a commonly passed around number with little scientific backing. The Institute of Medicine suggests around 125 ounces of water a day for men and 91 ounces for women, but WebMD notes your needs depend on everything from age, gender and weight to your surroundings and health condition. Your thirst is usually a good indicator of your fluid needs, but add extra water to your routine if you’re exercising or outside in hot and/or humid weather. Sweat causes your body to lose fluid more quickly. What’s the most effective way to check your fluid levels? Check your urine — the lighter it is, the more hydrated you are.
Myths: I can only drink water to hydrate. OR Any beverage will help me hydrate.
These myths are flip-flops of each other: you can hydrate with beverages besides water, but not all beverages give the same benefits. The amount of water in coffee and tea makes them decent hydrators, but alcohol does not do the same trick because you’ll lose more water than you retain. Depending on your health needs, water may still be the best choice because it won’t add extra sugar and calories to your diet.
Myth: Water is a better option than sports drinks when I’m active.
Although water is always a good option when exercising and playing sports, sports drinks have a few benefits water can’t provide. When you sweat, you say goodbye not only to water but also to carbohydrates and electrolytes like magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium. After moderate sweating, you can usually regain what you lost with your meals, but when recovering from intense or lengthy physical activity, sports drinks aid that replenishing. Reliv’s Innergize! not only provides the carbs and electrolytes you need, it also delivers vitamins, minerals and amino acids to support optimal health.
Myth: I can only get my water needs from beverages.
Food also provides water. In fact, WebMD reports most people get 20 percent of their fluid needs taken care of in their meals. Fruits and veggies like watermelon, cucumbers, cantaloupe, bananas, broccoli and apples are excellent sources of hydration, and dairy products and meat can help, too.
With a better knowledge of your body’s hydration needs, you can keep yourself prepared for summer activity no matter the weather. Cheers to your health!
- “6 Hydrating Foods,” from The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/6-hydrating-foods_n_1297196.html
- “Summer Hydration Mysteries Solved,” from The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/30/hydration-mysteries-solve_n_887216.html
- “Can Water Help Me Lose Weight…and 7 Other Hydration Questions Answered,” from The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/water-facts_b_913142.html#s321000&title=Do_I_Need
- “Water Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Hydration?” from WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/rm-quiz-know-about-hydration