Determining the amount of water each plant in my garden needs to thrive is both an art and a science. If you’re like me, a gardener who is passionate about keeping my plants healthy to avoid the need for pesticides and fertilizer, you keep a close eye on the yard and garden for signs of under or over watering.
Think of your gardening body in the same way…keeping your body healthy and functioning properly will help you avoid the need for medication or other toxic paraphernalia.
Proper hydration is essential for good health for both plants AND their keepers during hot summer months. How much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with debatable answers; studies produce varying recommendations. The bottom line? Like plants, our water requirements depend on many factors including individual health, activity levels, and geographic location.
Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Water is needed in blood to transport oxygen to working muscles; in urine to eliminate metabolic waste products; in regulating body temperature to lose heat through sweating; and for digestion and absorption. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel lethargic. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, dizziness, muscle weakness, and thirst.
Outdoor physical activity such as gardening enhance the need to replace fluids. Gardeners, similar to athletes, should not rely on thirst to remind them to reach for their Sigg water bottle. Being thirsty at this point is a sign of dehydration. Fluid needs vary from one individual to another; there are general guidelines athletes can follow for staying properly hydrated during exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has revised recommendations for proper hydration and exercise. Drinking before, during, and after a gardening session is essential for efficiency and recovery.
Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day. Try a simple hydration calculator that analyzes several internal and external factors.