This past week, I was named as one of the Mamavation Motivators, with the job of focusing on Hydration. Previously, this post was held by the illustrious @mentallyinked (known around Mamavation as the “Water Czar”) .
But, now, as Kim had to step down due to a busy new work schedule, the job of motivating the ladies of Mamavation (as well as the rest of the Twitter-sphere) falls on me.
You can just call me, The Hydrator.
(sounds tough and scrappy, doesn’t it? Yeah — totally me.)
While the majority of my job entails sending tweets reminding everyone to throw back some water, I knew I wanted to do more than that. I love information and the act of gathering it: research, discussion, experimentation. Love it!
When another Mamavation mama (@Momma_oz) directly asked me about the amount of water she should be consuming, I knew that I definitely needed to take on the task of researching and sharing hydration information.
So, here’s the start.
How Much Water Should I Drink Throughout the Day?
First of all, let’s start thinking in terms of being “hydrated.” When we all talk about or read about reaching water goals, it’s for the purpose of keeping our bodies hydrated — functioning, removing toxins, allowing our muscles to work properly . . . the list goes on and on and on.
Overall good hydration is really what we’re after . . . not just XXX number of ounces in water.
Why do I say that? Because when you look at how much water you need throughout the day to stay hydrated, you also need to be considering things like (1) other sources of water of you consume throughout your day and (2) your activity level. Those two factors will cause what you need, in terms of water, to fluctuate on any given day
A general guideline for fluid consumption for adult women, per the American Dietetic Association, is “2.7 liters (91 ounces) daily.” That number does not take into account how active a person may be; you can lose up to 2% of fluid during an intense workout.
Even without exercise or intense activity, our bodies can lose up to 10 cups of fluid daily — just through normal things like breathing, perspiration and urination. TEN CUPS! When you add exercise (and even factors like humidity and altitude) into the equation, your water loss number rises even more.
So, how can we make sure we’re keeping our bodies adequately hydrated? Let’s look at good ways to meet our basic hydration needs throughout the day.
- Water — yes, yes, yes, yes. Hands down, water is the best and easiest way to hydrate your body. It enters your system quickly, contains no harmful additives, is very low in sodium, sugar and calorie free, and it’s easy to obtain. Hello? I think practically everyone has a faucet in their home!
- Milk and all natural juices provide water. If you drink an 4-8 oz glass of skim milk each day to help maintain your dairy requirements, that’s 4-8 ounces of fluid entering your body. Woo hoo, you’re killing two birds with one stone. Now, obviously because of calories in skim milk and the sugar/calorie content of manufactured fruit and veggie juices, one can’t rely solely on these liquids for hydration. Sure, you’d be hydrated but you’d also be putting on some pounds! But, these sources, when consumed in a healthy, moderated way, can count toward your hydration goals.
- Fruits and veggies: not only do these garden goodies provide fiber and vitamins, your body also gets fluid from them. In fact, fruits and vegetables are a good post-workout source of fluid and potassium (which are depleted during an intense workout). Lettuce, watermelon, broccoli and grapefruit are options that contain at least 90% water! Don’t like grapefruit? Apples are another good water/potassium source.
Wait! Not all fluids are created equal.
All of these aforementioned sources, which should be part of a natural, healthy, balanced diet anyway, help one stay hydrated. BUT (dun, dun, dun) . . . you can “cancel out” your good fluid intake by consuming caffeinated beverages and/or alcohol: coffee, tea, and soda all act as diuretics, stripping your body of fluid.
Are you like me and drink a cup of coffee in the morning? That’s fine — caffeine in moderation doesn’t poison our bodies but it doesn’t help our hydration goals either. So, before you drink that cup of coffee, start your “good fluid” intake with water or skim milk.
So . . . that, in a very big, bloggy nutshell is the foundation of staying hydrated. But, before we go . . . let’s recap.
- Without factoring in activity levels, adult women should aim for 91 ounces of fluid daily.
- Fluid sources should primarily come from water but you also gain fluid from skim milk, natural juices, and the fruits & veggies you consume.
- Caffeine and Alcohol cause your “good fluid” total to lower . . . you’ll need to increase your good fluid intake to avoid the cancellation effect from caffeine/alcohol.
That’s it for today . . . .in future posts, we’ll talk about “How to Stay Hydrated During a Workout” and “Why More Water isn’t Always Necessary or Good.” (yep, there are times when too much water isn’t ideal).
Let me know what you think or if there are other questions you have!
(oooooo. . . I like the sound of that!)