How hard is it to drink all the water that you need for any given day?
For lots of people, including us, it isn’t that easy. The crap part about all of that is it doesn’t take much for your bodily functions start to decline and lose peak performance. Just 2 to 4 percent of your body’s hydration is enough for muscles to go weak.
That’s according to an Iowa State University study. Yikes, right?
More than muscles, though, lack of proper hydration affects your whole body.
Remember, every cell and organ needs water to work properly, and without it, things start to deteriorate: energy, digestion, skin growth, etc. Stuff just stops working properly if you’re not properly hydrated.
That’s why we are huge proponents of making water consumption as easy as possible. Not just on the trail or outdoors, but at all times.
How Much Water Do You Need?
So, short answer: 9 cups per day for women and 12 for men.
But that’s just recommended for a normal lifestyle. So if you do anything active from mowing the lawn, to cleaning the attic or, yes, hiking/biking/working out, then you will also need more.
You will also need more when it is hot and cold weather affects the amount of water you need too. Truth be told, most of us need more than recommended daily intake.
The good news is that 20% of your water needs are taken via food, especially in foodstuffs like fruits and veggies. Another good reason to keep that diet balanced with lots of green leafy veg and fruits.
Also, if you’re sick and symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting then you’re going to need a lot more fluids.
Best Fluids for Hydration
Water. H2O. The agua. Your body loses water when it dehydrates It doesn’t choose sports drinks – those weird colors are not the type seen in nature either!
You can add a small amount of salt and sugar to water to make it isotonic and help replenish the stuff your body sweats out after a hard workout, but generallypure water is the best bet.
If you like a bit more taste some decent substitutes include:
- Low sodium vegetable juice.
- Fat Free milk
- 100% fruit juice
Just do not drink too much fruit juice as they are high in fructose and pretty acidic too.
Don’t be afraid of caffeine. Coffee and tea (without cream and sugar added) are low-calorie and provide good fluid hydration as well as anti-oxidants. They do have a mild diuretic effect, but the amount of liquid you take in comfortably counters this.
Avoid anything too sweet and sugary and I personally like to stay away from sweeteners too.
Of course, you’ll need more water if you live an active lifestyle. Your muscles works and generate heat and the body keeps itself cool by perspiring. It’s just the way it works and it means you’re losing water.
Water, though, also helps to carry glucose to the muscles that you’re using and takes away wastes (lactic acid) that causes muscle fatigue and soreness.
For a guide, just assume that if you’re sweating then after 1 hour you’ve lost about 1 quart of water. (American Council on Exercise). Again, going back to our “wear a hydration pack as often as possible” method…you should hydrate before, during, and after a work out to maintain endurance and peak performance.
Feel free to have a sports drink within an hour of hard work out to replace electrolytes. If not, coconut water is awesome for that!
Things to Remember
- If you’re thirsty (not just dry mouth), then your body is already low on water.
- Keep that hydration pack or a bottle of water on you at all times so that it’s convenient to hydrate throughout the day.
- Carry bottles of water in your car – HydroFlasks work great for this!
- Keep cool, clean water in your fridge at all times, eg a pitcher, bottle, etc. As long as water as is available then you’re more likely to drink it.
Matt Green, is an avid hiker and lover of the great outdoors. He is always planning his next big trip or hitting the trails for a solo hike.
He’s traveled extensively to many remote regions and has plenty of experience exploring various terrains, and stories to tell.