How to Prevent Dehydration: A Guide
Dehydration is a severe condition that can lead to heatstroke and other problems. Fortunately, preventing dehydration is easy if you know what to look out for. Follow these tips to prevent its ill effects:
Make Sure You’re Drinking Enough Water
How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults consume about 91 ounces of daily beverages (about 2.7 litres). That includes about 40 ounces (1.2 litres) from plain water and no more than 67 ounces (2.3 litres) from all other beverages combined. Remember, this includes coffee, tea, milk and 100% fruit juices, even though these drinks contain some naturally occurring sugars (and therefore calories).
How Can You Increase Your Water Intake?
It’s easy to fall short of your daily hydration goal if you don’t prioritise regularly drinking enough fluids throughout the day, preferably through a water bubbler or a water bottle, so that it is easily attainable.
Drink Before Meals or With Meals
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help prevent dehydration and keep hunger pangs at bay so that you eat less overall during mealtimes. It also helps ensure that food digests properly so as not to cause bloating or discomfort after eating.
Try to Drink a Glass of Water With Every Meal or Snack
The best way to stay hydrated is to drink a glass of water with every meal or snack. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, as you may have already been dehydrated for hours before that point! So, the aim is to drink at least eight glasses of water daily, and more if you’re active.
Drink More When You’re Active
If you’re exercising for less than an hour, you should be able to get by with 8 ounces (about 1 cup) of water every 20 minutes or so. And if your workout is longer than that, aim for 16 ounces (2 cups) per hour spent exercising. While some people recommend sipping on the water before starting a workout, studies have shown that pre-exercise hydration doesn’t affect performance any more than just drinking during exercise. Meanwhile, if your activity lasts more than four hours and includes both high-intensity intervals and low-intensity recovery periods, such as when doing interval training or running two consecutive races, consider taking electrolyte supplements, too.
Drink More When the Weather Is Hot or Humid
Drinking more water when the weather is hot or humid can help you avoid dehydration. When it’s hot outside, it can be vital to install a water bubbler as your body loses water through sweat and other bodily fluids. And if you don’t replace those lost fluids, your body will begin dehydrating (lose more liquid than it takes in). This means that even though you may be drinking lots of water, you could still become dehydrated if you aren’t getting enough water into your tissues or cells.
Drinking more water is especially important during exercise, including gardening and housework, as well as when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be Sure to Drink Before You’re Thirsty
You should drink water before you get thirsty. Thirst is a sign that your body has already started dehydrating and needs fluids immediately, so don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water.
In addition to drinking plain old water, there are other methods for staying hydrated throughout the day. For example, green tea, caffeine or black tea drinks can help replenish electrolytes, but avoid sugary drinks like soda or juice!
Generally, an adult needs about eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily (1 cup = 8 ounces). Meanwhile, children and teens need smaller amounts based on size and activity level; and infants require even less per pound than children (less than 1/2 ounce per pound).
As you’ve read above, drinking enough water is one of the most critical steps to prevent dehydration. If you’re active, hot or humid weather increases your risk for dehydration. And if you are older or have certain medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease, it is harder for your body to retain fluids, so drink more water. Plus, if you wait until thirst kicks in before taking action (which is what most people do), then it might be too late!
So, don’t let dehydration happen to you, and start paying attention now!