As we continue into the summer months, our body’s demand for water is higher than ever.  However, no one quite understands the answer to the question, “How much water should I drink per day?”

Well, here’s the answer: It depends.

Not really the answer most people want to hear, but there are two major factors that increase our requirements: Climate and physical activity.  The more you exercise, the more water is required to keep your temperature regulated AND to produce energy for your muscles to contract.  Take into consideration the climate in Arizona, and we will need to pay more attention to our hydration than other individuals.  Fluid loss of as little as 1 percent of our body weight can result in greater strain on your heart and a lack of ability to cool your body down properly.

To stay as hydrated as possible without consuming too much liquid at once, drink about 16-24 oz. of water 2 hours before activity or competition, so that it is absorbed and you get a chance to use the restroom once before activity starts.  Then, consume about 6-8 oz. of water every 15 minutes during activity.  Finally, drink about 16 oz. for every pound of body weight lost during the activity session.  Sports drinks should only be consumed if there is a significant amount of sweat from the activity or prolonged high intensity activity (2 hours or more).

Follow these tips to ensure your well-being and optimal performance during activity.  And remember: if you are thirsty, YOU ARE DEHYDRATED!!

— Josh Wludyga MS, CSCS