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7 Myths Busted By Experts Reveal Hydration Importance

Posted by Seraine Page on Mon, Jun, 06, 2022

Hydration Importance InfographicHydration is important to keep in mind as it’s about to get incredibly hot in most places for summer. As it gets warmer, you’ll likely be more active outdoors and need to reach more often for your water bottle. Staying hydrated can help you feel your best while also avoiding heat-related illnesses

Water is essential to the body for a few reasons:

  • It promotes cardiovascular health
  • It keeps the body cool
  • It cleanses the body
  • It lubricates joints and muscles

Below, we pooled health experts’ knowledge to get you hydration myths and facts all in one spot. Learn the facts about hydration from experts like certified sports nutritionists, physiologists, and other wellness educators. They offer insight into how water isn’t the only way to hydrate the body, the truth about consuming too much water, and the advice surrounding the “eight glasses of H2O a day” saying.

Read on to dive into all you need to know about hydration as summer quickly approaches.

MYTH #1: Hydration Isn’t That Big of a Deal

Considering much of the human body is made of water, it is essential for optimal health to stay hydrated. On average, most people are made up of around 60% water. In the human body, water contributes to many bodily functions.

Myth-Busted by an Expert

It is needed to regulate body temperature, remove waste, keep cells healthy, and is necessary for digestive processes,” explains Melissa Morris, an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist and ISSN certified sports nutritionist. “Fluid also helps form saliva and tears and cushions your brain.”

MYTH #2: Hydration is Just About Water Intake

There’s more to drinking water than just getting enough of it daily. This is especially important for very active individuals and athletes to remember. Consuming drinks with electrolytes — like a sports drink or coconut water — can keep you safely hydrated during intense sweat sessions.

Myth-Busted by an Expert

“Electrolytes (sodium, in particular), play an essential role in nerve and muscle function (i.e., muscle contraction),” says Dr. Todd Buckingham, chief exercise physiologist at The Bucking Fit Life. “Sodium causes the body to retain more water than drinking water alone, allowing you to remain more hydrated, especially during exercise when sweat is lost. If you only drink water (particularly during long bouts of exercise), you could dilute your blood sodium levels. If you dilute your blood sodium levels too much, that could result in a potentially life-threatening condition known as hyponatremia. Hyponatremia occurs when you lose sodium through your sweat, drink too much water, or both. Therefore, it is imperative to consume a sodium-containing drink during prolonged exercise, especially in hot and humid conditions.”

MYTH #3: Everyone Needs Just Eight Glasses of Water Daily

Not so. There’s actually no solid research that says eight is the exact number of H20 glasses an individual needs to drink every day. It depends on a variety of factors, experts say.  

Myth-Busted by an Expert

Daily water intake recommendations vary for each person based on a variety of factors such as age, sex, state (like pregnancy and breastfeeding), climate, and most of all, level of physical activity — a person may lose from 0.5 to 2.5 liters per hour of exercise which should be replaces during or after the activity,” says Jennie Graham, a nutrition expert and certified personal trainer.

Additionally, Graham adds, a person should drink according to thirst instead of a planned fluid intake schedule since hydration status changes daily. In general, men above 19 years of age should aim to drink 2.5 to 3 liters per day, while women of the same age should go for 2 to 2.5 liters.

MYTH #4: There’s No Such Thing As Drinking Too Much Water

Ever hear there’s too much of a good thing? It’s true with water consumption, too.  

Myth-Busted by an Expert

“While drinking too much water is rare, it can happen,” explains Melissa Morris, an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist and ISSN certified sports nutritionist. “Overconsumption can lead to hyponatremia, which is low sodium levels in the body. When you over consume water, it dilutes the level of sodium in the body. Sodium is necessary for muscle contraction, nerve contraction, and heart contraction.”

MYTH #5: Dehydration Isn’t Serious. It Just Means You’re Thirsty

Feeling thirsty? You’re already on your way to dehydration, which can leave you feeling tired, and dizzy, and give you a dry mouth. Dehydration is considered a dangerous loss of fluids either through inadequate water intake, sweat, or illness. During the summer, it’s especially important to drink water often as heat illness can be severe and life-threatening.

Myth-Busted by an Expert

“It is a matter of water in and water out,” says Kristina Borseti, CEO of And Then, Be Well. “During the summer months, we tend to sweat more either through activity or by relaxing in the hot sun. Sweat's job is to evaporate and cool our skin and keep our temps in a safe range. If we do not replenish the water lost, which can be up to 2 liters (68 oz) for some, we can experience dehydration. Dehydration can mean fatigue, dizziness, low blood pressure, nausea, rapid heart rate, fainting, and flushing. We don't realize we are dehydrated until we are about a 1-2% loss. Therefore it is important to be proactive in our hydration.”

MYTH #6: Clear Urine is a Good Hydration Indicator

As mentioned above, it’s true there’s too much of a good thing when it comes to excessive water. Urine is an excellent indicator of hydration status. But clear urine means you might actually be drinking far more water than your body needs and in turn depleting it of essential electrolytes.

Myth-Busted by an Expert

“The color of urine should be straw-colored,” says Joshua Burnham, owner and chiropractor at  Precision Chiropractic Services. “If urine is clear it could mean that a person is overhydrated which can lead to depletion of electrolytes. Water intake must meet demand. Someone who is exercising will need more water than someone who is sedentary. Most hydration recommendations are based upon exercise science research and are not generalizable to the average population in the U.S..”

MYTH #7: You Can Only Hydrate With Water

Luckily, you can get valuable fluids from both water and your food. This can be especially good news for those who don’t love downing water as much as they should.

Myth-Busted by an Expert

“Fruits and vegetables like berries, oranges, cucumbers, tomatoes, and watermelon are all loaded with fluid that will help hydrate you,” says Dr. Todd Buckingham, chief exercise physiologist of The Bucking Fit Life.

He adds that both coffee and tea can also be used as hydration sources. It’s important not to overdo it with those beverages, though, because they can also contain caffeine which can have negative effects on performance, daily function, and sleep.

For those who like the flavor of sports drinks, Dr. Buckingham says those are okay, too, but opting for ones that are low sugar and low calories with few additives is important to make a healthy choice.

RELATED: 7 Healthy Summer Foods You Won’t Want to Miss This Season 

A Final Word on Hydration Importance

Don’t let dehydration sideline you from your favorite activities this summer. This is an important note for those who also enjoy an alcoholic beverage (not hydrating) while out in the summer sun. Balance is key and staying hydrated will keep you out of the ER or dealing with miserable heat-related issues.

A few more tips to drink enough for your body’s needs:

  • Wake up, drink up - Try to drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up; your body gets dehydrated from not consuming water throughout the night.
  • Remember to add variety - Plain water isn’t the only way to hydrate. Enjoy melons, cucumbers, and a variety of other options in the produce section that contain mostly water.
  • Sports drinks aren’t necessary - Unless you’re sweating profusely (think of an intense gym session or working in the yard all day), sports drinks aren’t necessary for most people who eat a varied diet.
  • Carry a bottle - Fill up a bottle (or a few) of water to bring with you any time you leave the house. Throughout the day, take small sips and keep drinking to keep your thirst away.

Ready to have a summer that’s fun, healthy, and safe? Then be sure to keep staying hydrated daily as part of your healthy summer to-do list. Limit sugary, caffeinated drinks when possible, and be mindful of your urine color to keep track of hydration levels. Being aware of your body’s limits in extreme heat and staying out of the most intense heat of the day can also keep you from dehydrating faster.

Enjoy summer, but keep hydration importance at the top of your mind, too!

Have trouble remembering to drink enough despite knowing hydration is important? Try setting a timer to remind yourself. You can also use the Water Challenge tracker to keep tabs on water consumption, too!

Free Summer Safety Checklist

Topics: Healthy Workplaces, Wellness at Work

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