A photo by Aidan Meyer. unsplash.com/photos/nvj-PDU98WU

How hard is it to drink all the water that you need in any given day?  For lots of people, including us, it isn’t that easy.  The crap part about all of that is it doesn’t take much for your bodily functions start to decline and lose peak performance.  Just 2 to 4 percent of your body’s hydration is enough for muscles to go weak.  That’s according to an Iowa State University study.  Yikes, right?

More than muscles, though, lack of proper hydration affects your whole body.  Remember, every cell and organ needs water to work properly and without, things start to deteriorate:  energy, digestion, skin growth, etc.  Stuff just stops working properly if you’re not properly hydrated.

That’s why we are huge proponents of making water consumption as easy as possible.  Not just on the trail or outdoors, but at all times.  One of the best hydration pack methods to stay hydrated is wear that hydration pack whenever possible because it’s so easy and convenient to sip or chug water throughout the day.

So…

How Much Water Do You Need?

So, short answer:  9 cups per day for women and 12 for men.  But that’s just recommended for a normal lifestyle.  Any kind of activity from mowing the lawn, to cleaning the attic and, yes, hiking/biking/working out, cold weather affects the amount of water you need. Truth be told, most of us need more than recommended daily intake.

The good news is that 20% of you water needs is taken via food, like fruits and veggies.  So, be sure to keep that diet balanced with lots of green leafy veg and fruits.

Also, if you’re sick and symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting then you’re going to need a lot more fluids.

Best Fluids for Hydration

Water. H2O. The agua. Your body loses water when it dehydrates.  It doesn’t lose sports drinks.  Besides, water is the healthiest because it is calorie free.  But, some decent substitutes include:

  • Low sodium vegetable juice.
  • Fat Free milk
  • 100% fruit juice

Don’t be afraid of caffeine to the point of horror.  Coffee and tea (without cream and sugar added) are low-calorie and provide good fluid hydration as well as anti-oxidants.

Anything with added sugar is high calorie and will result in weight gain if consumed too much.

Staying Active

Of course, you’ll need more water if you live an active lifestyle.  Your muscles works and generate heat and the body keeps itself cool by perspiring.  It’s just the way it works and it means you’re losing water.

Water, though, also helps to carry glucose to the muscles that you’re using and takes away wastes (lactic acid) that causes muscle fatigue and soreness.

For a guide, just assume that if you’re sweating then after 1 hour you’ve lost about 1 quart of water.  (American Council on Exercise).  Again, going back to our “wear a hydration pack as often as possible” method…you should hydrate before, during and after a work out to maintain endurance and peak performance.

Feel free to have a sports drink within an hour of a hard work out to replace electrolytes.  If not, coconut water is awesome for that!

Things to Remember:

  • If you’re thirsty (not just dry mouth), then your body is already low on water.
  • Keep that hydration pack or a bottle of water on you at all times so that it’s convenient to hydrate throughout the day.
  • Carry bottles of water in you car and make sure it’s plastic.  (HydroFlasks work great for this!).
  • Keep cool, clean water in your fridge at all times. This could mean: a pitcher, bottles, etc.  As long as water as is available then you’re more likely to drink it.