wikiHow to Stay Hydrated

Two Methods:Drinking Water RegularlyKnowing Your Hydration Needs

Since our bodies are mostly made up of water, drinking enough water is key to your body's ideal functioning.[1] It is important to understand how much water you need to consume in order to stay hydrated, as well as to practice strategies to maintain adequate hydration in your day-to-day life. Know also that your hydration needs may vary depending on factors such as exercise, the temperature of the surrounding environment, illness, and pregnancy.

Method 1
Drinking Water Regularly

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    Drink some water when you first get up in the morning. Some people only drink milk or coffee in the morning, but adding at least one glass of water will help to increase your hydration in the morning. You can keep a water bottle beside your bed if that makes it easier to remember to drink it.
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    Carry water on you at all times. Water bottles are cheap to buy and can be carried to work, to school, or whenever you are away from the house for several hours. Some have marks for reading how many milliliters or fluid ounces of liquid you have, so that you can keep track of how much you have been drinking.
    • A common recommendation is to drink at least 8 eight ounce glasses of fluid daily, and more if you are exercising or out in the hot weather. However, men need an average of 13 eight ounce glasses of fluid and women need an average of 9 eight ounce glasses of fluid every day.[2]
    • Or, you can also divide your body weight in half and drink that amount of water in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, then you would need to drink 80 ounces of water per day.
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    Drink water before you get thirsty. When you are thirsty, your body signals that it already has a lack of fluid. To stay hydrated, you should drink water often enough to keep this from happening. As you age, your thirst receptors will become less effective at sensing your body's need for hydration, so it is a good idea to get into the habit of sipping water throughout the day.
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    Monitor your urine as a sign of your hydration status.[3] In addition to drinking before you get thirsty, you should also check your urine as an indication of whether you are staying hydrated enough. People who are consuming adequate fluids will have plenty of clear, light yellow urine. On the other hand, those who are dehydrated will have less urine that is a darker yellow as it is more concentrated.
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    Limit caffeinated and sugary drinks. Caffeine makes your body lose its fluids more rapidly, and sugar in drinks, even orange juice, is not ideal for hydration purposes. Instead, aim to drink more water. Even though water may be less tasty or appealing at the outset, it is better for your body's overall health.

Method 2
Knowing Your Hydration Needs

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    Be aware of factors that will affect how much water you need.[4] An important step to staying well-hydrated is to know what your water intake needs are. Keep in mind that the basic recommendation of 8 eight ounce glasses of water per day is flexible. You will need to drink more on top of this depending upon the following factors:
    • How much you exercise
    • Your environment (hotter temperatures, or even humidified air indoors, require greater water consumption)
    • Your altitude (higher altitudes are more dehydrating)
    • Pregnancy and breast-feeding, both of which increase your water needs.
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    Drink more when you exercise. For an average workout, you will need 1.5 to 2.5 cups of additional water (on top of the 8 eight ounce glasses of water per day that are already recommended). You may need even more than this if the duration of your workout is over an hour, or if it is a workout of particularly high intensity.[5]
    • Note that, for workouts that are very intense or longer than one hour in length, an electrolyte sports beverage is preferable to water to maintain your hydration.
    • This is because intense exercise causes you to lose a lot of salt through sweat. Without adequate salt, regardless of how much water you drink you will be unable to effectively absorb it through your digestive tract.
    • Therefore, to compensate for lost salt, the electrolytes in the sports drink (such as Gatorade or Powerade) are key, and will help you to absorb the water you are drinking more efficiently.
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    Recognize the impact of illnesses on your hydration status. It is important to know that illnesses - particularly ones that involve diarrhea and/or vomiting - require exceptional efforts to stay hydrated. If you only vomit once or a couple of times, such as during a food poisoning attack, it is less worrisome than an ongoing illness of three to five days with consistent diarrhea and/or vomiting (such as the Norwalk virus or other gastrointestinal illnesses).[6]
    • If you have a gastrointestinal flu, you will need to make a big effort to stay hydrated at this time. Your best bet is an electrolyte sports drink rather than pure water because, similar to intense endurance exercise, you will be losing a lot of salt through diarrhea and/or vomiting. Take small sips frequently throughout the day.
    • If you cannot keep the fluids down or if you are continuing to have diarrhea and vomiting despite efforts to hydrate yourself, then you will need to go to a clinic or urgent care setting for intravenous hydration.
    • In order to adequately hydrate yourself when there is salt loss involved, you will need to replace not only the water, but also the electrolytes (hence why Gatorade, Powerade, or another sports drink is your ideal option).
    • If you have an illness of this nature, sip on fluids consistently throughout the day and consume as much as you are able to. It is better to sip slowly and often than to drink a lot at once, as consuming too much at one time may trigger further nausea and/or vomiting.
    • Note that, in very severe illnesses, you may require IV fluids in a hospital setting to maintain hydration. See your doctor if you are concerned as it is better to be safe than sorry.
    • Other medical and health conditions may also affect your hydration status, though seldom as severely as a gastrointestinal flu. Speak to your doctor if you would like further information as to how your health conditions (such as kidney disease or other chronic diseases) may have an impact on your water consumption and hydration status.
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    Keep in mind that children can become dehydrated quickly. If your child is sick, he or she may become dehydrated much faster than an adult and may need to be seen by a physician sooner than an adult would. If your child becomes listless and hard to wake, then emergency medical attention is necessary. If your child has no tears when crying, take her in for an evaluation. Other symptoms of dehydration in children include:[7]
    • not urinating or urinating less than is usual (an infant might have dry diapers for three hours or more)
    • dry skin
    • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
    • constipation
    • sunken eyes and/or sunken fontanels
    • rapid breathing and/or rapid heart rate
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    Consume more fluids when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.[8] The recommended water intake for pregnant women is 10 cups per day (as opposed to the usual 8 cups per day for non-pregnant women). For nursing women, the recommended water intake is 13 cups per day. In both of these cases, you will need additional fluids to support your growing baby, and/or to aid in milk production which uses a significant amount of water.


  • Learn the symptoms of dehydration: dry mouth, thirst, dark urine, cramps, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness or light-headedness, tiredness, sunken eyes and inability to produce tears.

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Categories: Heat and Cold Injuries