Home > Nutrition > Hydration Tips for the Whole Family

Seniors drinking water after fitness in park

The Body’s Water Supply

Why is it important to stay hydrated?

Water makes up nearly 60% of our body weight! It plays an essential role in every system of the body and is necessary for the body to maintain homeostasis. When you are dehydrated, neither your brain nor your body can function optimally.

Is it better to drink lots of water at once or a little bit throughout the day?

A little throughout the day! It is easier to stay hydrated if water consumption is spread out throughout the day. Drinking water all at once may make you feel full and tired.

When should I increase my water intake?

If you consume water when you are thirsty, you will maintain normal hydration most of the time. However, when you participate in intense physical exercise, exercise in the cold with layers, or work in the sun, it is a good idea to replace the body water lost in the form of sweat. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that individuals participating in exercise should consume ~20 oz of water per pound of body weight that is lost when the exercise session is over. If you are exercising for an hour or more without a break, you should consume 4 oz every 15 minutes. 1 gulp of water is approximately 1 ounce.

How can I tell if I’m drinking enough water?

The color of your urine! If it is clear or light yellow, it is likely that you are well hydrated. If it is a dark yellow color, you may need to drink more water! Dark yellow urine can also be the result of the body’s inability to absorb vitamins and minerals found in multivitamins or supplements.

If I decide to walk my dog, take my dog to the park or on a hike, how much water should I bring?

When deciding how much water to bring, you must first take into account the breed and size of the dog. Smaller dogs require less water than bigger dogs. Overestimate water needs during your first adventure. Bring one 16.5 oz water bottle for every hour (2-3 miles) of terrain that you will cover. This water bottle is for your pet so make sure you take bottles for your other family members too! After the hike, you can evaluate how much water to bring on future hikes. It is normal for dogs to stick out their tongues when it is hot. If the tongue is not moist and the dog is panting heavily, your dog may be in danger of dehydration. Dogs don’t sweat so the moist tongue helps them stay cool. Lastly, at the end of the hike, let the dog cool down for a couple min before giving it water. This helps prevent the dog from drinking too quickly, which could cause it to vomit.

References:
http://www.nal.usda.gov/wicworks/Sharing_Center/WY/Hydration/Display_Elements/hydrationfluidfacts.pdf
http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/DGAC/Report/D-6-SodiumPotassiumWater.pdf
http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2007/02000/Exercise_and_Fluid_Replacement.22.aspx

oxy seal