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Holladay challenges you to drink more water

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From the Holladay Health Corner

Written by Amanda Watson, Marketing Director (Portage, IN)

Holladay associates enrolled with the company’s UMR Care Management plan are registering now for the final health challenge of 2020 which begins at the end of July, The Hydrate for Life Challenge. While this challenge is specifically meant to help those enrolled with UMR to earn wellness premiums, the idea behind The Hydrate for Life Challenge is something that everyone can benefit from and since Holladay is committed to supporting the physical, financial and professional health and well-being of each other and those we serve, we wanted to share details here in our blog.

The Hydrate for Life Challenge encourages individuals to boost their daily water intake during a 6-week period. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of adults don’t drink enough water.* The goal of the challenge is to build or maintain healthy habits for life. Since staying properly hydrated is essential to your overall health, drinking water is an inexpensive, calorie-free way to give your body what it craves.

How much water should you drink each day?

The commonly held notion is that everyone should drink eight glasses of water each day, but in reality, how much water you need changes based on gender, activity, health concerns, and whether or not you’re indoors or outside. Here are some general guidelines:

  • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that men drink 13 cups, or 104 ounces, each day.
  • The IOM suggests women should drink 9 cups, or 72 ounces, daily.
  • Generally speaking, children and teens need between 6 to 8 cups, or 48 to 64 ounces, of water per day.
  • According to the IOM, pregnant women need more water, about 10 cups, or 80 ounces each day. And women who are nursing should drink even more, about 12 cups, or 96 ounces every day.
  • If you’re outside in the sun or in a hot location working, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends you drink 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes to stay hydrated.
  • If you have an illness that’s causing you to throw up, have diarrhea or run a fever, you need to to drink more water. However, if you are throwing up, you should drink water in very small increments to not cause additional vomiting.
  • If you have a health condition such as heart failure or some types of kidney disease, you may need less water and should discuss what’s right for you with your doctor.**

How much water should you drink while exercising? 

How much water you need while exercising depends on the intensity of the workout. Your body can lose a lot of sweat during an hour of intense exercise, so you should be sure to start exercising with enough water in your body. Here are a couple suggestions:

  • Drink about 2 cups, or 16 ounces, of water 2 hours prior to a work out.
  • During exercise, or when playing sports or other activities, a good rule of thumb is to drink a 4 to 16 ounces, or between a half a cup and 2 cups, of water every 15 to 20 minutes.*
  • And don’t forget to re-hydrate post-exercise.

Why do I need to drink water?

As we’ve discussed in previous Holladay Health Corner articles, water is an essential component of you overall health and well being, as well as being a great way to bounce back or prevent illness. Here are a few reasons you should get your daily dose of H20:

  • Water helps to remove waste from your body.
  • Water can help strengthen your immune system, keeping illnesses at bay. And if you do get sick, water flushes your system, re-hydrates you and washes out the toxins.
  • Water helps you maintain a normal body temperature and helps prevent overheating.
  • If you have a cough, staying hydrated thins mucus, making it less likely to cause irritation and easier to clear out.

Can I drink fluids other than water?

There are lots of fluids and food that can contribute to your water intake! Here are a few things to consider:

  • Coffee and tea provide water, but watch your intake because they also contain caffeine. Most people can safely can 2 to 4 cups of coffee each day.**
  • Juices, smoothies, and pops contain water, but they can also be high in sugar and calories, so watch your consumption.**
  • Sports drinks provide water, too, and contain additional elements likes carbohydrates and electrolytes that can help you absorb water and maintain energy levels. However, you shouldn’t drink too much of these and be sure to watch the nutrition labels because many contain high levels of sugar, salt and calories.**
  • Energy drinks are an additional source of water but usually contain sugar and caffeine or other stimulants. Most doctors suggest that children and teens shouldn’t consume energy drinks.**
  • Fruits and vegetables are a great source of water, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals. Cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, celery and watermelon are all over 90% water so make great other water choices.**

How can I tell if I’m drinking enough or too much water?

It’s pretty easy to tell if your’re drinking enough water:

  • If you’re urine is clear, or light yellow and you rarely feel thirsty, you’re getting enough water.**

There are a few signs that you’re not getting enough water, too:***

  • Frequent or persistent bad breath
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent illness
  • Acne and other skin problems
  • Increased thirst or hunger, or cravings for sugar
  • Decreased urination

It’s rare for a healthy adult to drink to much water, but it is possible and occurs most commonly in endurance athletes. Hyponatremia is a condition that can be caused by drinking too much water and/or an underlying medical condition and basically means you have low blood sodium. The condition causes your cells to swell, and can be a mild or life-threatening condition. Hyponatremia is usually treated by reducing your water intake. The major symptoms of hyponatremia are:****

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps

Drinking water is vital for your health, and you should be sure to drink enough fluids, without overdoing it. Listen to your body – your level of thirst and the color of your urine are the best indicators of how much water you need. 

* According to “Study finds nearly half of Americans not drinking enough water” Chicago Tribune, June 5, 2013 
** According to “How much water should I drink daily?“, WebMD
*** According to”7 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water“, Healthcare Associates of Texas, September 16, 2018 
**** According to “Hyponatremia“, Mayo Clinic

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