Student News

Q&A With UK Dietitian on Benefits of Drinking Water

Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2021) — As we move further into the new year, it is important to focus on our health. One of the key steps toward living a healthy lifestyle is staying hydrated and being aware of your daily water intake. Shannon Winke, registered dietitian at the University of Kentucky, and Erica Oakley, dietetic intern at UK, provided UKNow with some information about the benefits of drinking water daily.

UKNow: What is the daily recommended intake of water?

Winke and Oakley: It’s difficult to give an exact amount of water that would meet the needs of everyone because everybody’s needs are different. There are several factors that could influence how much water you need, such as overall health, age, gender and activity level. In addition, certain medical conditions can also impact a person’s fluid needs. However, a good rule of thumb is to try to drink between ½-1 ounce of water per pound that you weigh. For example, if someone weighs 150 pounds, they should drink somewhere between 75-150 ounces of water per day. However, I would recommend to not get bogged down with all the numbers — drink whatever amount of water feels good to your body and keeps you hydrated!

UKNow: What are the benefits of drinking water and how does it improve our health?

Winke and Oakley: Not only is drinking water beneficial, but it is also essential to life! Approximately 60% of our bodies are composed of water, so it’s important that we keep our bodies hydrated. Our bodies lose water throughout the day as part of our normal body processes, and if we lose more water than we take in, we can become dehydrated, which can cause lots of problems including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, digestion problems and even more serious issues if severe dehydration is present. Dehydration can also impact our moods and brain function. Taking all these things into consideration, it’s easy to see why water intake is so important!

UKNow: How can drinking water improve academic performance?

Winke and Oakley: As mentioned before, dehydration can affect our moods and brain function, and it can cause fatigue and loss of concentration. All these things can affect academic performance. Staying hydrated can help increase a person’s energy levels, in addition to their mood and their ability to focus. This can lead to more productive study sessions and it could potentially improve performance on exams and projects.

UKNow: Is there any additional information you would like students to know?

Winke and Oakley: Overall, I think the most important thing you can do is focus on drinking the amount of water that makes your body feel good. Don’t stress about having to maintain a specific amount of water intake each day; instead, experiment with it! Start to listen to your body and learn to notice when your body is trying to tell you that it is starting to get dehydrated and respond to that cue accordingly by drinking more water! The goal here is to feel good in your body and hydration is an important part of that!       

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

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