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Remember to Hydrate: Advice From Cheri Timmons

Remember to hydrate!

Drinking water throughout the day is a simple self-care strategy that invites a pause in your work and nourishes your body.

Even with the arrival of cooler temperatures, staying hydrated is fundamental to good health. Up to 60% of your body is water – essential for brain function, circulation, respiration, body temperature regulation and more. 

Each day, your body loses water, mostly through sweat and urine. In order to prevent dehydration, you need to replenish your body with fluids each day.

Hydration as a self-care strategy:

For added mental and emotional benefit, intentionally pause what you are doing before you take your sips. Tune into how your body feels, notice the temperature of the water you are drinking and allow your attention to go to how the liquid moves through your mouth and down your throat. A quick experience, but when you give it your full attention it serves as an interruption in the stress cycle of your day. A simple self-care act that is easy to practice.

How much water is enough? 

Each person is unique.* There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Becoming familiar with basic guidelines to evaluate hydration needs and recognize signs of dehydration is where to start.

Eight 8-ounce glasses (64 ounces) is a general fluid intake guideline. This easy to remember, reasonable goal is a good starting point. However, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends intake for the average healthy adult in a temperate climate to be 124 ounces for men and 92 ounces for women.

Whichever guideline you follow, unique factors of age, health, activity level and climate will determine if you need more or less water.

If you are visiting extreme climates, engaged in vigorous training, taking certain medications, pregnant or breastfeeding, you will have increased fluid needs. Health experts also indicate that infants, elderly and ill/feverish individuals will also have greater intake needs.* 

Signs of dehydration:

Thirst is the first sign your body is becoming dehydrated.  Some other symptoms include:

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Concentrated urine (dark in color, strong smell)

  • Increased heart rate and low blood pressure

  • Dry mouth and eyes

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Constipation 

  • Muscle cramps

  • Lack of coordination

Tips to stay hydrated:

  • Convenience – keep refillable water bottles in your room, workspace and car

  • Drink water first thing in the morning

  • Sip on water throughout the day – 2 or 3 sips every 15 minutes

  • Hydrate before, during and after physical activity

  • Listen to your body – light yellow urine usually means your fluids are adequate

  • Milk, herbal tea and juices are also hydrating

  • Put lemon, mint or berries in water for added flavor

  • Choose hydrating foods: cucumbers, celery, mixed greens, tomatoes, grapes, citrus fruits, watermelon, yogurt, broth-based soups

Too much water?

It is possible but uncommon to “overhydrate”. With too much water, kidneys can’t excrete the excess, leading to a low blood sodium level (known as hyponatremia) and this can be life-threatening. Consult with your doctor or registered dietician to determine your needs.

* A doctor or registered dietician can assist in determining the amount of water that is right for you every day.

Cheri Timmons is a Greensboro Downtown Parks program partner. The work she does with us is critical to providing FREE wellness programming to our park community. As we make our way through these unprecedented times, consider how you might support local Greensboro non-profits like us, as well as local businesses, artists, entrepreneurs like Cheri, makers, and more. We'll continue to bring you free programming through our digital platforms and look forward to having you join us and Cheri back in the parks soon!

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