Better hydration means better health and fitness performance. But proper hydration is about more than pounding gallons of H2O. It’s also about timing, electrolytes, and nailing down your individual needs. It doesn’t have to be complicated, though. To help simplify things, Runner’s World teamed up with Nuun (makers of those plant-based electrolyte hydration tablets your friend swears by) to create a calculator that tells you how much water you should aim to consume in a day, based on a few bits of info about your physical traits and fitness level.
Click the blue button below to get started.
Once you have your daily goal, go grab Nuun’s 30-Day Hydration Bundle to get fully stocked for a month of total hydration—with 10 tubes of Nuun tablets (and guidelines explaining each type), a 20oz glass water bottle, a guide to making your plan, and a progress chart to keep you on point.
Hydration by the numbers
Finally, here is one more tool to help you achieve all your hydration goals. We’ve rounded up nine of the most important figures to remember at various moments of your day into a quick-reference field guide to hydration.
The body loses water during sleep in various ways like sweating, breathing out moisture, and the processing of urine in the kidneys. Replace some of that and kickstart the rehydration process by drinking two cups of water immediately after rolling out of bed. Consider warming up your morning by adding a Nuun Immunity tablet to a cup of hot water or tea. These are fortified with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to support the immune system, and you’ll find three tubes of them in the 30-day hydration kit.
Individual needs vary based on body weight, activity levels, genetic sweat rates, and even the weather (changes in heat and humidity will affect how much you sweat). One person’s daily fluid needs could range from as few as 6 cups to as many as 24 cups per day.
Carrying a water bottle with you and drinking water with meals are two small ways you can help ensure you hit your targets.
Or, do what runners do and give yourself a goal: Commit to this healthy habit with Nuun’s 30-day hydration kit, packed with more than 100 servings of Nuun along with tools to plan and chart your progress.
One of the best ways to limit performance-sapping dehydration during a workout is to drink enough before it. Aim to drink upwards of 16 to 20 ounces an hour prior to exercise, and sip another 4-8 ounces 15-30 minutes before you start. Remember, drinks like iced tea, juice, and seltzer water count! Of course, water or a sports drink tablet like Nuun—specifically Nuun Sport, which is available in the 30-day bundle and delivers key nutrients and electrolytes to fuel performance and aid recovery—are great for this.
The more you drink, the more you have to pee. More than seven times a day means you’re likely well-hydrated. Pee color can also be revealing; darker urine often reflects dehydration. You want lemonade, not Arnold Palmer—definitely not iced tea.
If you get dehydrated during a workout, your heart rate rises, and your power and cognitive abilities decline. So you need to drink more on days when you sweat. Aim for 4-8 ounces of water or Nuun every 15 minutes during an activity. Do not wait until your mouth is dry—set your watch to beep every 15 minutes if you have to. Drinking smaller amounts at regular intervals will help avoid stomach sloshing. One good gulp equals about an ounce.
This test will tell you how much sweat you lose on the run and how much liquid you need to rehydrate: Weigh yourself naked before a run, then head out for an hour and keep track of how much you drink along the way. Weigh yourself naked again post-run, then subtract your weight from your pre-workout weight and convert to ounces. Add to that number however many ounces of liquid you consumed. (If you lost one pound but drank eight ounces, you lost 24 ounces of fluid.) To determine how much you should drink every 15 minutes, divide your hourly fluid loss by 4 (in the above example it would be 6 ounces). Repeat the test in a few different environmental conditions. The goal isn’t to match all the fluid loss during a workout, but to come reasonably close.
Water doesn’t just come from the tap. The foods you eat can help you meet 20 percent or more of your daily hydration needs—particularly fresh fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, sweet peppers, cucumber, tomato, celery, oranges, peaches, and berries.
During a long run of 90 minutes or more, a sports drink can provide valuable calories from carbs that your muscles need for energy, plus electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Ideally, you want to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrate for each hour of activity. A favorite flavor will encourage more frequent drinking, so test some options. While not part of the 30-day pack, Nuun Endurance drink mix could help keep you moving with the perfect blend of clean, efficient carbohydrates and complete electrolytes.
You don’t just lose fluids when you sweat, you lose salt. Increasing sodium levels through electrolyte consumption (a sports drink, electrolyte powder, or tablet like Nuun Sport) can help your body retain fluids while stimulating thirst, both of which contribute to better hydration. The baseline recommendation is 500-700mg of sodium per hour of exercise, but that increases if you train in steamy conditions, are a heavy sweater, or exercise for a long time. For sweaty workouts lasting 75 minutes or more, you can also add 300-600mg of sodium to 16-24 ounces of recovery fluid afterward.
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