Here's Exactly How Much *More* Water You Should Be Drinking In The Summer
We've heard it since we were kids: Our body is 60% water. The importance of staying hydrated was drilled into our brains throughout our childhoods—in the classroom, on the soccer field and basketball court, and at home.
But as adults, we can sometimes forget how important water is to our health. Just to name a few of its functions, water keeps our temperature regulated, protects sensitive tissue, and helps us get rid of waste. According to the Mayo Clinic, even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue.
How much water do we (really) need in the summer?
For most of the year, we need about the same amount of water each day—the typical recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses—but by how much should we increase that number in the hot, sweaty summer? If you live in a place that gets steamy in the June/July/August months, you're almost definitely sweating out more water than you normally would.
It only makes sense to increase your water intake to make up for that, right?
According to Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, functional medicine expert and mindbodygreen Collective member, yes. "Since you are sweating more in the summer, you are also losing more fluids quicker, thus increasing your need for additional water intake," he explained. The good news is that, as Cole explained, "It's easier to drink more water in the summer since you notice that you are thirsty more quickly."
That said, it's not quite as simple as drinking a ton of water during the summer months and forgetting about hydration through the winter. "It's important to keep your intake of water at a steady level regardless of the weather. In general, your water intake should be around 64 ounces daily, but depending on your activity levels, weight, height, and sex, it could be a little more," he explained.
Avoiding dehydration if you're exercising in the summer.
According to Amy Shah, M.D., integrative medicine doctor and mindbodygreen Collective member, increasing your fluid intake in the summer months is especially important if you're exercising: "I would increase your water intake to 100 ounces a day, especially if you're factoring in at least one hour of sweaty exercise," she said.
The Cleveland Clinic—which cites recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine—says you should drink this extra water before, during, and after any physical activity, especially if it's outdoors. They recommend drinking around 20 ounces one or two hours before, about 10 ounces for every 10 to 15 minutes you're exercising outside, and then another 16 to 24 ounces after a workout to replace the water you've lost.
Bonus: Don't forget about electrolytes!
If you're exercising intensely or for more than one hour, the Mayo Clinic encourages you to consider a sports drink that replaces the electrolytes you lose through sweating. This could take the form of a supplement, like these Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets ($7) or this Pure Encapsulations Electrolyte/Energy formula ($23).
According to Cole, "When you're dehydrated, you lose essential electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium that are responsible for vital body functions." And that's bad news for your health. "Some of the first signs you are dehydrated include dull, dry skin; dry eyes; dark yellow urine; dizziness; headaches; and cramping," he explained.
The good news is that, even though we're halfway through summer, it's never too late to start increasing your water intake in honor of your health.
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