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Drink up!

Staying hydrated benefits the entire body.

Article Author: Wesley Roberts

Article Date:

Staying hydrated benefits the entire body.

We know water is essential to life. In fact, while water makes up 60% of the human body, research has shown that if you lose as little as 2% of your body's water content, dehydration can have a noticeable effect on your health.

Since water is used in nearly all functions of the body, we have to replenish it to survive. Daily fluid intake requirements vary based on many factors, including age, gender, physical activity and pregnancy.

How much should you drink?

"The amount of water needed for adequate hydration varies from person to person and changes based on an individual's metabolism, physical activity level and other environmental factors," said Olivia Bullock, DO, a family medicine physician with Baptist Primary Care.

She recommended using your body weight in kilograms to approximate how many ounces of water to drink each day. For example, if you weigh 70kg (154 pounds), you should drink a minimum of 70 ounces of water per day.

"During physical activity, your body can lose anywhere between 2% and 9% of your body weight in sweat. This amount of dehydration can affect your physical performance," said Dr. Bullock. "Therefore, it's important to hydrate before, during and after physical activity. Sports drinks with potassium and water fortified with electrolytes can help replenish the body."

Tips for drinking enough water

If you're looking to increase your water intake, you can try:

  • Carrying a water bottle.
  • Adding flavor to your water by infusing it with lemons, strawberries or cucumbers.
  • Choosing water at meal times or drinking eight ounces of water before a meal.
  • Journaling your water intake.

Dr. Bullock encourages patients who need to drink more water to have 8 ounces first thing in the morning to start your day on the right foot. She also suggests purchasing a 64-ounce clear water bottle and marking it with the hours of the day to keep track of your water intake goal.

Infographic showing how staying hydrated benefits the body.

Too much of a good thing

Dr. Bullock cautioned, however, that it's possible to drink too much water.

"This can dilute your sodium level and cause lethargy or confusion. Therefore, while maintaining hydration is important, so is eating well-balanced meals to keep your water-to-solute ratios in balance," said Dr. Bullock.

She recommended working with your primary care physician to create an individualized approach to your daily water intake based on your lifestyle.

Looking for a primary care physician?

With offices throughout northeast Florida in Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties, Baptist Primary Care has the right doctor for you. Visit baptistjax.com/request or call 904.202.4YOU to get started.

Find a provider near you

Source: National Library of Medicine

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