A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post reviewing a friend of mine’s daily meals to give some input and suggestions on healthy alternatives. One of the items I stressed was the importance of drinking water.
This is obviously not ground-breaking information here. If you’re reading this blog, I assume you’re into running and/or nutrition and are aware of all the benefits of drinking water, so I’ll skip over that stuff.
However, ever since I had this discussion with her, I became hyper-aware of how much water I drink. I am constantly drinking the stuff. I noticed that if I sit in a 2 hour meeting without a bottle of water, by the end of it I’m super thirsty. And I always make sure I have a full bottle of water with me before boarding an aircraft. So, I begin to wonder a few things:
1) How much water do I actually drink each day?
2) Do some people just require more water?
3) Is it possible to develop a water-dependency?
The first question seemed pretty straightforward to answer. So yesterday, I actually tracked how much water I drink in a typical day. (A typical day for me consists of getting up at 5-ish, running 5+ miles, walking/biking 2 miles to work, working for 9 hours, walking/biking 2 miles home, eating dinner & relaxing with Joe and Manny). So here’s how it went:
5:15 AM (Getting dressed for my run): 16 oz glass of water
6:30 AM (Post-run/breakfast): 16 oz glass of water
8:00 AM (Walk to work): few sips of water, maybe 4 oz
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM: I filled my NaturaStride thinkSport bottle in the morning, and re-filled it once throughout the day. It’s 25 oz. So that’s 50 oz while working.
12:00 PM (Lunch): I drank a 16oz bottle of Poland Spring sparking water (love this stuff)
6:00PM (Walk home): few sips from my water bottle, maybe 4 oz
7:00PM – 10:00PM (During dinner and while watching TV): I filled a red 16oz solo cup and re-filled it twice. Which means I drank 48 oz of water in the evening.
GRAND TOTAL: 154 ounces of water – HOLY CRAP.
I honestly had no idea it was this much, I figured it was around 100oz. Now, because I’m sure you’re wondering: Yes, I pee a lot. Actually, most nights I wake up once in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, but I’m a very light sleeper, so it’s not a big deal.
(And, yes, I am constantly refilling the freaking Brita.)
So, this led me to my second question: Do some people just require more water? How much do I need?
Some research led me to this Mayo Clinic article, indicating that the “average woman” requires about 9 cups (or 72 ounces of water) each day. Of course, the fact that I run distance and walk or bike 4+ miles on top of that, I don’t think I’m quite in the average category. The article goes on to suggest other factors which may influence water consumption requirements. Per the article, “An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise.” For mathematical purposes, I’m gonna go ahead and double the extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups based on my level of activity (and the fact that I’m a sweaty disaster when I run), and say I need an additional 5 cups (40 ounces) due to physical activity, bringing my suggested total up to 112 ounces.
The article also addresses hyponatremia, which is basically when the electrolyte level in the blood is diluted due to excess water intake – which is why we runners need to be super-aware of sodium and electrolyte consumption during running and racing. (Nuun tablets!) Tons of good info available on this these days, including this Runner’s World article.
So, I still drink an additional 40 ounces of water. No, I’m not worried about this and I don’t think I need to be, as I am considerably active, have a healthy diet, consume plenty of sodium and electrolytes throughout the day, and my frequent use of the bathroom isn’t getting in the way of my daily activities (haha).
Which leads me to my third question: Is it possible to develop a water dependency? I found this New York Times article, which discusses an extreme case of water dependency, where the patient was subsequently diagnosed with a condition called idiopathic diabetes insipidus – check out the article for more info on the causes and symptoms. No, I definitely don’t think I have the same thing as my love for water isn’t nearly as intense! But, I couldn’t really find any other information on my last question – do I now require more water, simply because I drink more of it? Have I developed a water dependency? (similar to the urban legend that people can develop chapstick dependencies?)
The verdict is still out, I suppose. But I definitely don’t plan on changing my water habits anytime soon. I am certain that the amount of water I drink has had a direct and positive impact on my overall health, including running performance, energy, digestion, infrequency of colds, etc.
But now, I still can’t help but wonder…
How much water do YOU drink? Have you ever tracked it? AM I NORMAL?? :)