How much should you drink?

By Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer

Eight to ten glasses of water per day. That’s sixty-four to eighty ounces. It sounds downright daunting and boring! Is this the only option? Of course not. Seems there is some confusion as to how much we should be drinking and what it should include.

To determine the amount of fluid you require each day, divide your body weight in half, and drink that amount in fluid ounces. A 120-pound woman, for instance, requires 60 ounces of fluid each day. This includes all fluids, even coffee. Does that mean coffee counts toward your daily fluid intake? “Yes. All fluids count—plain water, juice, soup, watermelon, and even coffee. The rumor that coffee dehydrates people lacks scientific evidence. . . . Yes, coffee might make you urinate more in 2 hours, but not in 24 hours. Even during exercise in the heat, athletes can consume coffee and not be concerned about dehydration.”1 A caveat here: “Alcohol has a diuretic (water losing) effect. That means the more alcohol you drink, the more fluid you lose.”2 Alcohol in all its forms is one of the fluids that does not count towards your daily intake.

Intake and output are important measurements in maintaining your fluid and electrolyte balance, and speaking of output, it is important to be aware of your urine output, not only the amount, but the color. It should be pale yellow, not dark. Keep drinking till your urine is a lighter shade of pale! “If the urine is dark, more fluids are needed to maintain adequate hydration. Remember, thirst is a very late and unreliable signal of hydration.” 3

In closing, I’d like to pass on my favorite thirst quencher. I drink a lot of water everyday but there are times when I want something besides water that is also low in calories. I call it The Best Thirst Quencher Ever but remember, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to enjoy it. Here’s the recipe:

Fill a large glass with ice. Add 8-ounces of your favorite sparkling water. I like Perrier Lime but Calistoga, Talking Rain or your grocery store brands work fine. Add 1/3-cup of white grape juice, a straw if you like, and enjoy!

Stay cool, stay active and stay hydrated!
1,2 Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Nancy Clark, MS, RD. Healthworks Fitness Center, 2008.
3 Women’s Health and Fitness Guide. Michelle Kettles, MD.; Colette L. Cole, MS; Brenda S. Wright, PhD. Human Kinetics, 2006.

Yours in Fitness,

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