In warmer temperatures, many of us know the importance of sunscreen outdoors.

But what about water? More than half of our bodies are made of water. This helps our bodies perform needed tasks, like supporting our joints and carrying nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies.

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Keeping hydrated is especially important in warmer months, when we sweat more. In fact, the average person has 2.6 million sweat glands, which is why we are soaked with sweat after an intense workout.

Get ahead of your thirst

But you shouldn’t wait until after your workout to drink water. You should drink before you feel thirsty, because exercise can block the signal from your brain that tells your body you are thirsty. And if you sweat a lot, consider a sports drink that will give you back the electrolytes you lost through sweating.

Most folks don’t need sports drinks to stay hydrated. Water will do just fine. And you don’t have to buy expensive bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle with you on your walk, or take it to the fitness center.

We have all heard that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. But calculating how much water we need is an inexact science, because we also get water from foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

How much water do I need?

The Institute of Medicine says men should drink about 13 cups (104 ounces) total of water a day. The recommendation for women is nine cups (72 ounces) total a day. (Total water intake includes plain water, water in beverages and water components in food.) Also keep in mind that some fluids can add to dehydration, including alcohol.

Drinking water instead of soda is an easy change that has great benefits for your health. Drinking water three times a week instead of a sugary drink will take away 6,084 grams of sugar from your diet over the course of one year, according to the American Journal of Public Health. That’s 24,336 calories.

How can you tell if you are drinking enough water? The color of your urine will help you know. If you are getting enough water, your urine will be clear or light in color. Dark yellow or amber urine is a sign of dehydration.

Contact your health care provider for advice if you are concerned about staying hydrated.