It’s been an especially hot summer this year, and as the temperatures start to fall, we wanted to take a moment to talk about how staying hydrated is not just for the summer months: it’s a year round thing!
Water helps the body perform some of its most essential functions: regulate temperature, nourish organs, lubricate joints, hydrate the eyes and mouth, and get rid of waste through urine and sweat. As an example, you may notice that when you don’t drink enough, your eyes or mouth start to get dry or you may feel tired or sluggish.
The system that makes us thirsty is complex and fascinating – but essentially, your body knows you need water by sensing changes in your blood. If the volume of blood is low because you haven’t been drinking water, or if the concentration of salt is too high because you just ate something salty, the body stimulates the thirst reflex so that you drink more water.
I always tell my patients that if you’re trying to stay hydrated, your urine should be clear or very light yellow. This is so important because staying hydrated not only helps us feel alert and well, but it can also help prevent certain medication conditions, like urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and general constipation.
The age-old adage of getting 8 cups of water a day is a good start, but if you can believe it the recommendations are even higher for most people – about 13 cups (3 liters) for men, and about 9 cups (2.2 liters) for women. Even more in certain cases such as pregnancy, lactation, or when you are exercising or sick. Water is usually the best source of hydration for most people, but if you are doing more than an hour of intense physical activity, adding in a sports drink may help replenish carbohydrates and salt.
I’m a big proponent of carrying a water bottle with you at all times and keeping it on your desk at work. Make sure you drink water with every meal, or try to take a few sips every hour. It’s also good to drink an extra cup of water before, during, and after a workout.
To discuss other ways to incorporate better hydration into your day to day life, or to learn more about how this affects your personal health, chat with your Radish doctor in the app now.
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