Heat Advisory: How much water to drink

Find out when and how much water adults and kids should be drinking

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter

Local doctor says 4 1/2 cups of water (16 ounces/cup) is recommended for adults, children and teens who exercise for 30 minutes/day.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Another day of dangerously high temperatures should be a reminder to all of us about staying hydrated in this hot weather.

Feels-like temperatures are expected to reach 111 degrees in some areas. Not enough water or too much can lead to dehydration and heat stroke.

According to the American Council on Fitness, adults and student athletes who do moderate to high intensity exercise should be drinking:

  • 17 to 20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercise
  • 8 ounces of water 20-30 minutes before exercise or during your warm-up
  • 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after your exercise

So how much is that? This picture helps you visualize how much water an adult or student athlete should drink. Four and a half cups (16 ounces/cup) of water. Surprised it's not more? I was. 

Dr. Vandana Bhide, of Mayo Clinic, says too much water can deplete your body of important nutrients.

"If you sweat a lot or exercise for more than 30 minutes, you should increase the amount of water you drink," Bhide said.

What about sports drinks?

"Sports drinks are only needed after one hour of exercise because more water than salt is lost in sweat," Bhide said, adding except in cases of elite athletes.

Dr. Bhide says athletes who exercise more than an hour a day should use sports drinks to stay hydrated.

The body's salt level can get too high if someone does not drink enough water or too low if someone drinks too much water. Both high and low levels in the body can be dangerous.

Sports drinks provide sugar that muscles need to exercise after one hour of intense exercise. Try to find sports drinks with less than 8 percent sugar.  

Salt and potassium tablets are useful in high performance or elite athletes, such as marathoners, but may not have enough sugar to help muscles perform.  Most regular athletes do not need salt/potassium tablets.

For children:

You can dilute juice as an alternative to sugary power drinks.    

One way to determine if your kids are getting enough water, is by looking at their urine.

"Urine should be light colored during and after exercise," Bhide said.

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