The 13 BEST Tips for Staying Hydrated at Work The Dietitian Resource

The 13 BEST Tips for Staying Hydrated at Work

Why should you consider staying hydrated at work? According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), if you lose as little as 2% of your body weight from water, your brainpower can drop (1). Thus, dehydration can affect your productivity and safety at work. 

Here is another fun fact. Water is the most important essential nutrient we consume.  It is so important that if you don’t have water for three days, it can lead to death (2).  So, let’s stay hydrated!

How Does Your Body Lose Water?

Water makes up ~60% of your total body weight (1).  You lose water when you sweat, go to the restroom (urine and #2), through your skin, and when you breathe. At rest, most water is lost through urine.  When active in warmer weather, up to 90% of the water lost comes from sweat (2).

How Much Water Do You Need to Stay Hydrated at Work?

Based on nationwide surveys, the IOM found people aged 19-50 years will meet the Adequate Intake (AI) of water if they consume:

  • 125 oz (for men) and
  • 91 oz (for women) per day (1). 

Most often you take in 20-25% of your water from food and 75-80% from your drinks (1)(3).  The digestion of food generates an additional 200-300mL of water per day (4).

What Counts as Water?

All beverages (water, tea, coffee, juice, milk, broth, and carbonated beverages), fruits, vegetables, and foods that contain water contribute to your fluid intake.

The 13 Best Tips for Staying Hydrated at Work

1. Monitor Your Urine Color

If your urine is clear or light yellow, you are well hydrated. But, if your urine has a burned orange or a dark olive brown color, you are seriously dehydrated (2).

Image of a table describing what the color of your urine means

2. Listen to Thirst Cues

Do you have a dry mouth or throat? Are your lips chapped? It is time to take a drink!

Additional Signs of Dehydration

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Dry/chapped lips and tongue
  • Dry skin
  • Water retention problems
  • Muscle or joint soreness
  • Hoarse voice
  • Constipation
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low-volume and/or dark-colored urine
  • Light-headedness
  • Loss of energy
  • Mental Confusion
  • Profuse sweating followed by dry hot skin
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Reduced appetite

3. Be Aware of Environmental Temperatures

On hotter days, you will sweat more. Be sure to drink more water to stay hydrated.

Image of woman leaning against a tree showing signs she is hot

4. Make Beverages Easily Accessible

Keep fluids at your desk. When beverages are available, you are more likely to take a sip.

5. Choose Beverages You Like

  • Water
  • Infused water
  • Tea (Herbal, black, green etc.) *
  • Coffee*
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Sports drinks
  • Carbonated drinks

*Caffeinated beverages were once thought to increase urine output and dehydration. But, research finds they actually contribute to your total water intake similar to noncaffeinated beverages (5).  With that said, drinking caffeinated beverages too late in the day can negatively impact your sleep.

As a bonus tip, choose sweetened or higher fat beverages less often. 

6. Flavor Your Water in Different Ways

Put fruits, herbs, and even cucumber into a pitcher of H2O to infuse your water. For ideas on ways to flavor your water, check out our blog post on 17 Delicious and Healthy Ways to Flavor Water.

Image of fruit and herbs in water to help infuse flavors

7. Add Ice to Your Beverages

You are likely to drink more water on a hot day if it is cold/iced.

8. Add Fruit to Meals and Snacks

Most fruits are 70-90% water (1) (2). By eating fruit with meals or as a snack, you naturally increase your water intake.

9. Include More Vegetables

Like fruit, vegetables are made up of mostly water. A baked potato is 75% water, while lettuce is 96% water (1) (2).  Try to cover half of your plate with vegetables at meal times.

You can also add vegetables to your snacks!

For a fresh summer salad idea, take a peek at the Yummy Peach and Blueberry Salad Recipe!

Image of fruits and vegetables

10. Choose Protein Sources with Higher Water Content

Chicken, cottage cheese, ham, tenderloin, and turkey are made up of 50-70% water (1).

11. Use a Water Bottle with Time Markings

There are water bottles you can buy with time markings.  The markings give you gentle reminders to be sure you are drinking water throughout the day. 

12. Take a Drink Each Time You Pass the Water Cooler or Fountain

Sipping on water throughout the day is a great way to stay hydrated.

Image of two people next to a water cooler at work

13. Be Aware of How Often You Go to the Restroom

If you are well hydrated, you may find yourself going to the restroom every 1-2 hours (2).

The Bottom Line on Staying Hydrated at Work

We naturally lose water throughout the day.  It is important to rehydrate so you can feel your best. Easy ways to rehydrate include sipping water throughout the day, monitoring your urine color, and including more fruits and vegetables with meals and snacks.  Check in with yourself regularly to be sure you are staying hydrated at work! 

For more information about The Dietitian Resource, visit our site or check out the blog.  Thanks for visiting!

References

1. Medicine, Institute of. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC : National Academies Press, 2005. 0-309-53049-0 https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx.

2. Fink, Heather H., Burgoon, Lisa A. and Mikesky, Alan E. Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition (Sixth Edition). Sudbury, MA : Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2021. 9781284181340.

3. Gropper, Sareen S., Smith, Jack L. and Carr, Timothy P. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (Seventh Edition). Boston, MA : Cengage Learning, 2018. 978-1-305-62785-7.

4. Mahan, Kathleen L. and Raymond, Janice L. Krause’s Food & Nutrition Care Process (14th edition). St. Louis, MO : Elsevier, 2017. 978-0-323-34075-5.

5. Caffeine and diuresis during rest and exercise: A meta-analysis. Zhang, Y., et al. s.l. : Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2015, Vols. 18(5): 569-574. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2014.07.017.

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More About Rochelle

Rochelle Inwood MS, RDN, ACSM EP-C

Hello there! I’m Rochelle Inwood, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Exercise Physiologist (ACSM EP-C). With over 14 years of experience, I have sharpened my expertise through diverse roles, including weight management program co-coordinator, patient/employee gym supervisor, outpatient dietitian, program manager, dietetic internship preceptor, and more. I am passionate about learning, creating, teaching, and supporting personal growth and development.