Your Guide to Fluids

Liquid Fuel: Check Your Fluid Level

Water is the most essential nutrient your body relies on to function normally. You could survive weeks without food, but only days without water. Just like oil is important to a car engine, adequate fluid is important to your body. Adequate fluids each day enable the body to regulate body temperature similar to the way coolant regulates a car engine. Adequate fluids may help to prevent the development of kidney stones and gallstones. The best moisturizer for your skin comes from hydrating from within.

Hydrating fluids include water, sparkling waters, milk, juice, and the following decaffeinated beverages: coffee, tea and diet sodas. Fluids containing caffeine and alcohol should be used in moderation, if at all. Remember to have at least 8 fluid ounces of additional fluid following the ingestion of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages to replace the fluids you lose due to their stimulant effect.

Here’s how you figure your minimum daily fluid requirement:

Use your ideal body weight (IBW) calculation and divide it by 2.

This is your maintenance fluid requirement; the number you get is the minimum fluid ounces you should have daily. Divide this number by 8 fluid ounces to get the total number of 8 ounce cups of fluid for your day.

However, this level of fluid will not cover you when you exercise. A good hydrating formula for your active lifestyle is to have at least 8-16 fluid ounces before your workout. In addition, during or after exercise, drink at least 8 fluid ounces for every 30 minutes of activity. Water is the best fluid! Fluids high in sugar, such as regular sodas and juices, tend to pull water from your body into your intestines, which may cause nausea, cramping and/or diarrhea. Therefore they are not as hydrating as water. Dilute these beverages with 50% water to enhance their hydrating value.

Calculate your daily fluid needs

For example, 160 pounds divided by 2 = 80 pounds.

The 80 pounds now represents 80 fluid ounces. Divide this by 8 fluid ounces which equals 10 (8 oz) cups of fluid for the day. Remember, if your body is signaling thirst, drink more.

_______ ÷ 2 = _______ fl oz (IBW)

_______ fl oz ÷ 8 = _______ cups per day
(your daily fluid requirement)