Summer Sweat- The Importance of Hydration
Water is essential for our survival. Did you know that our bodies are more than 60% water, we can only survive 4 days without out it and that 75% of our planet is covered with it?  It is not only important to understand why water is a critical resource to our planet, but to our bodies as well!
Why do we need water?
Water helps our bodies keep a regular temperature, lubricate and cushion joints and helps to get rid of waste from our bodies. Without an ample amount of water in our bodies, negative symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, dry eyes, headaches, and fatigue can occur. 
Not everyone needs to drink 8 glasses a day. Individual needs depend on age, activity level, and if you are pregnant or nursing. One “glass” is equal to 8 fluid ounces, which can be hard to visualize. A suggestion is to measure out the correct amount to equal one glass and pour it into your favorite cup to see how much that really is. Beverages that are purchased (including tea and coffee) usually have one or more servings, so pay attention to the label to know how much you are consuming. Don’t forget that many of the foods we eat contain water (especially soups, fruits, and vegetables), so sometimes we meet our water intake through our meals and snacks.
Here are some tips to make drinking water a more routine part of you and your families’ diet.
- Carry a refillable water bottle with you.
- Choose water over sugary beverages.
- Serve water during meals and always opt for water while eating out.
- Improve the taste of your water by infusing or adding a variety of different fruits, herbs, and/or vegetables to add tastes and flavors. Lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers and/or mint are great options. Recipe Idea
- Make drinking water fun. Use bendy, silly, or colored straws. Let children choose their favorite cup to drink out of.
- Give your child water with ice cubes or crushed ice. Look for fun ice cube trays such as dinosaurs, letters, or animals. Freeze fruits and put those into your child’s beverage.
- Track your water consumption with a fun tracking sheet.
- Learn more about water through fun activities and games:
- NASA: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/water/en/
- University of Georgia, Eat Healthy, Be Active Curriculum: https://extension.uga.edu/publications/series/detail.html?id=64&name=Eat+Healthy%2C+Be+Active
Incorporating new and fun ways to increase and maintain an adequate amount of water each day can help you and your family stay hydrated. Helping your family to make drinking water a healthy habit so they feel more energized and reduce the risk of adverse health effects is worth a little change.
Need more information? Check out our past publications:
- Daily Water Recommendations: https://healthy-food-choices-in-schools.extension.org/daily-water-recommendation/
- Five Things to Know About Water in Schools: https://healthy-food-choices-in-schools.extension.org/five-things-to-know-about-water-in-schools/
 Wilmes, E. (2019). Don’t overlook the importance of water. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved 10 June 2021. extension.umn.edu/beef-news/dont-overlook-importance-water
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Rethink your drink. Retrieved 10 June 2021. www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html
 Bobroff, L. (2019). Healthy eating: Fluids. University of Florida, #FCS8569. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/fy070
Caruso, L., Shelnutt, K., and Kauwell, G. (2017). Hydration myths. University of Florida, #FCS80036. Retrieved 10 June 2021. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FY1409
 Earnesty, D. (2018). How Child Care Facilities Can Promote Intake. Michigan State University Extension. Retrieved 10 June 2021. www.canr.msu.edu/news/how_child_care_facilities_can_promote_intake
Angelika Keene, Community Development Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension, Brevard County
Vanessa Spero, Regional Specialized 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Extension