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How Much Water Do You Really Need?

Every year it seems that water recommendations are increasing. But did you know that you consume quite a bit of water from solid foods? That is right! Juicy fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, watermelon, apples, oranges, broccoli, etc. contribute to your daily intake of water.

High-water foods are also low in calories. What does that mean? You can feel full with fewer of calories. So aim for at least six to eight glasses of water daily and don't forget to use fruits and vegetables as a source.

Hydrating Tips if You Don't Like Water

If you find that drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (more if you're exercising!) is a challenge, there are other choices you can make to get your body the fluids it needs. And hydrating your body is, after all, the bottom line.

Skim milk. A small glass has about 80 calories, along with respectable amounts of protein and calcium. And, of course, no fat.
Decaffeinated iced tea. Go without sugar and you've got a drink that's as calorie-free as water.
Soups and broths. There are plenty of low-calorie products on the market. However, they can be very high in sodium, so be sure to check the nutrition label for salt content. (You shouldn't have more than 2400 mg of sodium daily.)
Juice-water mix. You can get the flavor of juice with less sugar and calories by mixing a half glass with water and ice.

Hydrating for a Hike

..Every hiker knows to carry a water bottle. But when hiking in the heat, exactly how big should that bottle be? To decide, consider the following:

In the heat, you lose about .5 to 1 quart of water and electrolytes per hour through sweating. Drink enough to replace this amount.

For a day-long hike, you may find it impossible to carry all the water you'll need. When planning your hike, research the trail's designated safe drinking water resources. As a backup plan, pack water purification tablets that you can add to water from streams.

Why Hydrate?

..Keeping your body well hydrated affects not only your exercise performance, but also how you feel about it. Studies show that getting enough water and other fluids has concrete benefits:

YOU EXERCISE BETTER WHEN HYDRATED. Hydration leads to a more efficient workout with better strength and endurance.
YOU EXERCISE WITH MORE SATISFACTION. Hydration levels seem to affect people's perceptions of their workouts. People who are even slightly dehydrated describe their workouts as more difficult.
YOU BURN MORE FAT. When your body is well hydrated, the body's processes involved in fat burning are maximized.

Caffeinated Drinks and Your Water Intake

..If you're conscientious about drinking an adequate amount of water, make sure that you're not undermining your efforts with caffeine-containing beverages such as some coffee, tea and colas.

If you drink caffeine - which dehydrates the body - you are negating the health benefits of consuming water. Here's an imprecise rule-of-thumb for keeping your body hydrated: for every caffeinated or alcoholic drink you have, "replace" it with an additional glass of water.

Tired? Drink Water!

..If you're feeling sluggish, don't reach for the coffee or other caffeinated beverages. Instead, try drinking more water -- especially if your fatigue is caused by working out.

Always drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. Dehydration can result in premature fatigue as well as a loss of balance and coordination skills. Also, do not rely on thirst as an indicator for when you should consume fluids. Drink 3 to 6 ounces of water every 10 to 15 minutes of exercise to make up for the body fluids lost through sweating.

Water for Your Workouts

..Everyone knows that they need to stay hydrated during workouts. Here are some rules to follow when planning, preparing or executing a workout:

1.Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Add a few drops of lemon or lime juice to the water if you get bored with the taste.
2.If you are going to do a serious cardio or running workout, drink an extra 16 ounces of water a few hours before starting, and another glass or two a half an hour to an hour before starting your workout.
3.Don't wait to drink water until you feel thirsty. If you're thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.

Hydration Tips For Distance Runners

..If you're a distance runner, you've probably been told for years that you should drink a lot of fluids before and during your runs. Moreover, you've probably also been urged to drink even if you weren't thirsty. If you let yourself reach the point of thirst, the thinking went, you were already dehydrated.

It seems the conventional wisdom is changing. Some experts now recommend trying to balance fluid intake more precisely with the amount of fluids lost through sweat. (USA Track & Field, for instance, has guidelines on how to estimate your personal fluid loss.) And thirst has gained new respect as a reliable gauge of when you need to drink.

The impetus behind this paradigm shift? Experts have learned that endurance athletes who over-hydrate risk bringing their blood sodium levels too low, which can have serious health consequences.

Water: A Fat-burning Tool

..Studies have shown that when athletes become dehydrated during training or competition, their muscles begin to use more carbohydrates and less fat for fuel. The same goes for non-athletes as well. So if you're trying to lose weight, maximize your fat-burning capacity by following some basic guidelines:

Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
Drink an additional 12 ounces if you plan to work out later that day or if the weather is extra warm.
Don't drink caffeinated drinks or beverages, they actually dehydrate you.
Many of us find drinking 8 glasses of water a day (the minimum suggested by health experts) to be a challenge. Here are a few ways to meet that daily requirement more easily:

1.Make it tastier. Drop in a lemon, lime or orange wedge. Or pour in just a bit of fruit juice from the fridge.
2.Sip throughout the day. By taking a few sips every half hour or so, you can help keep your body hydrated without overloading your kidneys - an especially helpful strategy when you are away from bathrooms for any stretch of time.
3.Keep a bottle by your bed. A few swigs of water can feel good if you wake up parched in the middle of the night. More importantly, this bedside bottle can help you get in the habit of drinking water first thing in the morning.
By drinking water at the day's outset, you can help fend off the mental and physical sluggishness that dehydration can cause. And, of course, you can make a dent in that 8-glass requirement.
Ways To Get Enough Water
Role of Water in Promoting Health