5 Rules to Keep Hydrated and Enhance Body Composition
Water is the most crucial (and abundant) liquid on Earth. Every single cell in the human body requires water to carry out chemical reactions. This is to say that without water, we can’t exist; it is involved in most every physiological process.
Water loss is a routine daily function that occurs via several mechanisms, such as:
- Sweating, which cools the body
- Urinating or having a bowel movement
- Breathing (when you can see your breath in the air on a cold day, this is simply gaseous water being exhaled)
Proper hydration is crucial to maintaining cell functions; without enough water performance and overall health can be greatly hindered. We are in a dynamic state of losing and replenishing water in our bodies; when the amount of water being taken in becomes less than the amount being lost, we become dehydrated.
Dehydration impairs the fat loss process by inhibiting the liver’s capacity to metabolize body fat. Furthermore, being dehydrated impedes endocrine signaling as cell receptors become sequestered and blood volume is reduced. Not to mention that consuming cold water actually burns calories since the body must heat itself to maintain its core temperature.
The amount of water one needs on a daily basis varies based on their size and their activity level (active individuals generally require much more liquid than sedentary individuals, which will be covered herein).
Given this, let’s dive into five rules you need to know keep properly hydrated.
Rule 1: Keep a Filled Water Jug with You throughout the Day
While this rule may seem like common sense, many people go about their day without ever drinking much water at all. It is absolutely imperative to have some vessel of water near you throughout the day to ensure you can take drinks as needed and keep hydrated. If you can’t have a bottle/jug with you then the next best option would be access to water fountains.
Rule 2: Always be Sipping
You’ll often see athletes constantly taking sips of water during stoppages in play/timeouts, as opposed to chugging a bunch of water before the game and waiting until after the game to rehydrate. If you have a bottle of water with you throughout the day, try and take at least one sip every 30-45 minutes. You may need to drink more frequently depending on what you’re doing throughout the day (i.e. exercising, working, etc.)
Rule 3: Drink at Least 1 Ounce of Water per Every Kilogram of Your Body Weight
You often hear people say you drink 8 glasses of water per day (1 glass is assumed to be 8 ounces). The reality is that smaller individuals and larger individuals have different requirements of how much water/fluid they need daily to keep hydrated properly.
The best rule of thumb to go by is drinking at least 1 ounce of water per every kilogram of body weight, over the course of the day. One kilogram is equal to about 2.2lbs, so to convert your body-weight in pounds to kilograms, simply divide it by 2.2. For example, a 180-lb individual should drink 180/2.2=~82 ounces of water/fluid per day.
Rule 4: Water vs. Flavored Fluids
Make no mistake that flavored fluids like juice and soda are indeed still fluids (with water as the major component) but they don’t necessarily hydrate you the same way pure water does. In fact, certain fluids may actually not hydrate you much at all if they contain a large amount of energy (calories).
Moreover, drinking large amounts of soda and juice can add a large amount of unneeded sugar intake to your daily diet, negating many of the benefits of being on a healthy eating regimen. When in doubt, plain and simple water is your best bet to promote proper hydration. Low-calorie and calorie-free flavored liquids are also good options. Some drinks these days even go to the next level and add in certain electrolytes to promote better hydration.
Rule 5: Temperature of Fluids Doesn’t Effect Hydration
Many people may believe that cold water is ideal for hydration since warm liquids pass through the body slower than cold fluids. However, that is not the case. What is true, though, is that the body experiences a cooling effect when filled with colder liquid; this promotes a refreshing feeling on hot days.
Moral of the story is that whether you want to warm yourself up with a hot cup of tea on a cold day, or cool off with chilled water on a scorching day, that’s fine—either way, it still contributes to proper hydration.
There you have it, five rather simple rules to follow throughout your day to help you keep properly hydrated. Remember that a pragmatic way to assess your hydration is checking the color of your urine—if it’s dark yellow, you are most likely not drinking enough water/fluid; if it looks like crystal-clear water, you’re on the right track!
 González‐Alonso, J., Calbet, J. A., & Nielsen, B. (1999). Metabolic and thermodynamic responses to dehydration‐induced reductions in muscle blood flow in exercising humans. The Journal of Physiology, 520(2), 577-589.
 Stookey, J. D., Constant, F., Popkin, B. M., & Gardner, C. D. (2008). Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity. Obesity, 16(11), 2481-2488.