Staying hydrated is important at all times. Adequate water intake is necessary for the proper function of cells and organs in the body. When you're exercising, sick, or in a very hot environment, it becomes even more important, as proper liquid intake can ward off dehydration. To guard your health, it is smart to learn good ways to hydrate your body.
When you are just taking care of typical activities and not engaging in extreme levels of physical activity, it is smart to drink eight full glasses of water during the course of the day. Each glass should include at least 8 ounces (226.8 grams) of water. Spreading your drinking out over the full day may be one of the best ways to hydrate, helping you to feel less thirsty. Also, if you drink all of your water at one point in the day, you may feel bloated instead of simply well hydrated.
There are many ways to hydrate your body. Although aiming for eight glasses of water per day is a good idea, that's not the only way you can get your liquids. Eating fruits, vegetables and soups is among the easiest ways to hydrate. Likewise, fruit juices can be included in your drink tally as well. However, many doctors warn against drinking too much juice, as the sugar is not good for the body in excessive amounts. You should still get the bulk of your liquids from water.
No matter how you choose to hydrate, it's smart to drink liquids before you become thirsty. Thirst can actually be the body's way of signaling you that you may be on the way to dehydration. Your urine color can help you to determine whether or not you're hydrating well enough. Generally, your urine should be very light or clear. However, if you're taking vitamins, your urine may be bright yellow or darker after you've taken them.
If you are exercising, it's smart to use more aggressive ways to hydrate. For example, drinking a couple of glasses of water about an hour before you begin to exercise can help you to stay well hydrated. It's also smart to drink a half a glass to a full glass of water about every 20 minutes during physical exercise. This is because your body loses quite a bit of water when you're physically active. For example, you can lose over a quart of water when you exercise for just 60 minutes.
The exact amount of water you lose from exercise depends on how intense your exercise program is. If you're going to exercise for more than one hour, it may help to consume a sports drink, as this will help to replace electrolytes and carbohydrates in your body. When you're finally finished exercising, you'll also do well to drink another glass of water or another sports drink about a half hour after your physical activity.
If you're sick and losing fluids through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, you'll also want to find ways to hydrate your body and avoid dehydration. In such a case, it may be a good idea to sip room-temperature water slowly. Drinking too fast or consuming very cold water may only upset your stomach further; start with a very small amount and gradually increase your intake. There are also special electrolyte-replacement drinks and Popsicles that may be good to use if you've lost a lot of fluids while you've been ill.