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How to Stay Hydrated

Having enough water and other fluids throughout each day is important for good health and physical well-being. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramping, and reduce your ability to function physically, so preventing it is key. Remember, even when you’re not physically active, your body still loses water daily through your lungs, skin and urine – and if these losses aren’t replaced, dehydration can result. Staying Hydrated

Do you really need 8 cups of water a day?

Contrary to popular belief, science doesn’t say you need to drink 8 cups of water each day. However, you do need to consume an adequate amount of different beverages including non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages to keep properly hydrated. For instance, the average adult needs between 9 and 13 cups (250 ml per cup) of fluids each day. Water is one of the best choices for restoring your body’s hydration balance because it does not add extra calories to the diet.

How much water is enough?

A person’s fluid intake depends on a number of factors including age, gender and, if you’re a woman, whether you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. Fluid needs also vary according to the temperature outside as well as your activity level. Check the chart below to see what your regular fluid consumption should be. These fluid recommendations include water from all sources including beverages and foods. Remember, while water from beverages accounts for most of the fluids we consume, we also get fluids from fruit and vegetables, soups, stews, sauces and other foods. Staying Hydrated

Infants

Young children have a poorly developed thirst mechanism and often don’t think to take a drink. After a very hot day, a child’s irritability may be a sign that they’re thirsty or dehydrated. Parents should make sure kids drink plenty of fluids, especially when the weather is hot outside. Packing water bottles in lunch bags or to take along to day camp or sports activities helps kids remember to drink. Limit sugary beverages, such as soft drinks and sweetened fruit drinks as these are poor sources of nutrients and add unnecessary calories to a child’s intake. Most kids’ vitamin C needs can be met with 1/2 cup (125 ml) of 100% fruit juice each day. Pure water offers a refreshing, calorie-free choice when kids are thirsty.

Children

Young children have a poorly developed thirst mechanism and often don’t think to take a drink. After a very hot day, a child’s irritability may be a sign that they’re thirsty or dehydrated. Parents should make sure kids drink plenty of fluids, especially when the weather is hot outside. Packing water bottles in lunch bags or to take along to day camp or sports activities helps kids remember to drink. Limit sugary beverages, such as soft drinks and sweetened fruit drinks as these are poor sources of nutrients and add unnecessary calories to a child’s intake. Most kids’ vitamin C needs can be met with 1/2 cup (125 ml) of 100% fruit juice each day. Pure water offers a refreshing, calorie-free choice when kids are thirsty.

Seniors

The elderly often drink too little water and are at greater risk of dehydration, especially in hot weather. Seniors should try to set out a quantity of water to drink throughout the day and sip on fluids regularly. Staying Hydrated

Active individuals

Whether you’re an avid gardener or involved in fitness, sports, or strenuous labour, you need to keep properly hydrated. That’s especially important when it’s hot and humid. You need to drink fluids regularly throughout the day, as well as before, during and after physical activities. When working in a physical environment, or exercising, try to drink one-half a cup (125 ml) of water about every 15 to 20 minutes. Athletes will need more fluids and should consult with their physician or dietitian to determine their specific needs.

Adequate water intakes for children and adults from beverages and foods

Age Group

Total Requirement

From Food

From Beverages

Infants 0 to 6 months 0.7 L/day   from breast milk or infant formula
Infants 7 to 12 months 0.8 L/day 0.2 L/day 0.6 L (about 3 cups) from breast milk, formula, juices diluted with water and drinking water
Toddlers 1 to 3 years 1.3 L/day 0.4 L/day 0.9 L (about 4 cups) from total beverages including water
Children 4 to 8 years 1.7 L/day 0.5 L/day 1.2 L (about 5 cups) from total beverages including water
Children 9 to 13 years 2.4 L/day 0.6 L/day 1.8 L (about 8 cups) for boys and 2.1 L/day including 1.6 L (about 7 cups) for girls from total beverages including water
Teens 14 to 18 years 3.3 L/day 0.7 L/day 2.6 L (about 11 cups) for boys and 2.3 L/day including 1.8 L (about 8 cups) for girls from total beverages including water
Men 19 years and older 3.7 L/day 0.7 L/day 3.0 L (about 13 cups) from total beverages including water
Women 19 years and older 2.7 L/day 0.5 L/day 2.2 L (about 9 cups) from total beverages including water
Pregnant women 3.0 L/day 0.7 L/day 2.3 L (about 10 cups) from total beverages including water
Breast-feeding women 3.8 L/day