Did you just finish a long run, workout session, or yoga class? Make sure to drink plenty of fluids! After a hard workout, fluid losses need to be replaced, which is why it’s so important to rehydrate. This is especially true during the hot summer months since heat and humidity can accelerate fluid losses and make it even harder to stay well-hydrated.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Water is vital for the proper function of virtually every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Here are a few reasons why hydration is so essential:


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Dehydration Signs and Symptoms

When you’re not properly hydrated, your body sounds an alarm that shows itself first as thirst and dry mouth. Signs that you may not be taking in enough fluids might also include:

By the time your thirst mechanism kicks in, you’re already fairly dehydrated, so it’s important to stay on top of your fluid intake during the day. It’s also critical to make sure infants and small children get enough fluids as well – a recent meta-analysis indicated that children globally are not consuming enough water to be adequately hydrated.

Dehydration can result from simply not drinking enough fluids during the day, but other circumstances can contribute. If you’ve had diarrhea or vomiting, or if you’re running a fever, you need extra fluids.

When you’re exercising, it’s important to keep your fluid intake up not only during activity but also to make sure that you adequately replace fluid losses once you’ve finished. Some athletes make a habit of weighing themselves before and after activity to see how much fluid needs replacing. For every pound of weight that’s lost during activity, you need to drink about 2-3 cups of liquid to replace fluid losses.

When You May Need More Than Water

If you are working out intensely, or for longer than 30 minutes or so, or working out in a hot or humid environment, you may need to supply your body with more than just plain water – both during and after exercise.

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When you sweat, you not only lose water but important minerals – like sodium, chloride, and potassium – that need to be replaced. These body salts, often called electrolytes, participate in many body processes but are especially important for the proper function of your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain.

Electrolytes can be replaced with specially designed sports drinks that provide not only fluid but the right balance of electrolytes that have been lost through perspiration. Some even provide some carbohydrates, which can be a source of energy during exercise. Another plus to sports drinks is that they usually have a mild and slightly sweet taste that can encourage you to drink more.

Creative Ways to Up Your Fluid Intake

We all know we should drink water, but we don’t always set ourselves up for success. Here are some ideas to encourage daily hydration:


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How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?

Your age, size, gender, and physical activity level will help determine your water needs, as does the climate. As a general rule, according to the Institutes of Medicine, the recommended daily fluid intake is about 11 cups for adult women and 15 cups for men. That sounds like a lot, but not all of it needs to come from beverages alone.

About 70-80 percent should be provided by beverages – and at least half of that from water, with lesser contributions from tea, coffee, milk, and other beverages. The remaining 20-30 percent should come from watery foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Many people wonder if drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea counts toward hydration goals or against them. The good news: moderate amounts of caffeine will not deplete the water in your body.

But do watch the calories in those fancy coffee drinks – large amounts of cream and sugar add-ins can rack up calories quickly.

Susan Bowerman

Susan BowermanM.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan Bowerman is the senior director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the Dietetic Advisory Board (DAB). As a registered dietitian, she educates distributors about our global nutrition philosophy and is responsible for developing nutrition education and training materials. Bowerman earned a B.S. in Biology with distinction from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She is a fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and holds two board certifications as a specialist in Sports Dietetics and in Obesity and Weight Management. When she is not busy teaching and writing, Susan enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and gardening. Her favorite Herbalife products include Simply Probiotic and Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix Banana Caramel.