Hydration 101

What’s Included?

  • How much water do we need?
  • What influences how much water we need
  • Hydration and performance
  • Benefits of staying hydrated

How Much Do We Need?

The average daily adequate intake for hydration equates to about 11.5 cups (92oz) per day for women and about 15.5 cups (124 oz) for men. Some people may need more, and some may need less. This doesn’t have to come strictly from water though. Water, teas, coffee (in moderation!), broths, and even fruits and vegetables contribute to our total daily fluid needs.

There’s a number of factors that can contribute to how much we actually need. An easy way to tell how hydrated you are is to look at the color of your urine – it should be light yellow in color. The darker in color it is, the more dehydrated you are and totally clear urine may be a sign of drinking too much. Just as dehydration can cause problems, overhydration can cause problems too. Too much water can dilute your electrolytes and impact nerve signaling in your body.


  • 2-3 cups, 2-4 hours before
  • 1-2 cups 1-2 hours before
  • 1 cup before

During Exercise:

  • 3-6 oz every 10-20 min
  • 20-30 oz max/hour
  • Drink before thirsty

Post Exercise:

  • 16-20oz for every 1lbs lost in sweat or drink liberally

What Influences How Much We Need?

There are many things that may influence how much water we need. Age, gender, and certain medical conditions at baseline may impact our minimum needs, as well as duration/ intensity of exercise, elevation, and temperature may also impact hydration needs around exercise and performance. Being at higher elevations and in warmer temperatures increases your fluid and hydration needs.

How Does Hydration Impact Performance?

When it comes to hydration and performance, the biggest impact hydration has is on blood flow and blood volume. How much blood we have and how much our hearts are able to pump can impact the amount of oxygen your cells are getting. When dehydrated, your blood volume decreases and your heart rate increases to compensate. When considering your rate of perceived effort during workouts, being dehydrated can increase your perceived effort.

Benefits of Staying Hydrated

  • Improved digestion
  • Decrease constipation
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Temperature regulation
  • Improved skin health

Final Note

Staying hydrated is important for overall health and wellness, especially for athletes. Remember, hydration = water + electrolytes. An easy way to help increase water intake during the day is to start with water before coffee/caffeine, and to have a water bottle next to your bed to start drinking water first thing when you wake up.

Amy Haas
Run with Aim, LLC
UESCA Certified Running Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Nutrition Coach

Information Provided & Verified By:
Katelyn Biros, RD
Registered Dietitian