We all know we should drink water throughout the day. Water is essential for our body’s functions. It helps with transporting nutrients, lubricating joints, removing toxins, keeping our skin hydrated, and managing our weight, to name a few. But how much should we drink? The answer is a little more complex, it depends on your age and gender, whether you exercise, if you are taking certain medications, if you live in a hot environment. If you want to know your exact daily intake, I would suggest seeing a Registered Dietician for an individualized recommendation.
A good rule of thumb to start with is drinking 8 cups per day. For those participating in endurance exercise, increasing your water intake before, during and after is recommended due to increased sweat rates, water and electrolyte loss. According to the American College of Sports Medicine:
- You should slowly drink water ~4 hours prior to the start of the event
- During the event, small sips of water should be taken periodically; care should be taken in determining fluid replacement rates, particularly in prolonged exercise lasting greater than 3 hours
- After exercise, the goal is to replace fluid and electrolyte deficits. The speed with which rehydration is needed and the magnitude of fluid/electrolyte deficits will determine if an aggressive replacement program is merited.1
One of my favourite memes proclaims how drinking water is so difficult yet drinking wine is so easy. How can we make drinking water easier? Here are a few simple strategies:
- keep a water bottle with you
- drink a glass of water with each meal
- drink a glass of water between cocktails (your hangover will thank you)
- try adding fruits to your water to improve the taste
One way I sneak a glass in is first thing in the morning. I pour a cup of water into my mug before my coffee! If you think about your morning routine, you probably went to the bathroom first thing (dehydrated your system) and then you reach for the pot of coffee (hello more dehydration). So hydrate before that cup of coffee! So what do you do to ensure you get enough water throughout the day? I’d love to hear your tips!
Registered Physiotherapist and Kinesiologist
1Reference: “Exercise and Fluid Replacement” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 377-390. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31802ca597