In geographic routing, nodes need to maintain up-to-date positions of their immediate neighbors for making effective forwarding decisions. Periodic broadcasting of beacon packets that contain the geographic location coordinates of the nodes is a popular method used by most geographic routing protocols to maintain neighbor positions. We contend and demonstrate that periodic beaconing regardless of the node mobility and traffic patterns in the network is not attractive from both update cost and routing performance points of view. We propose the Adaptive Position Update (APU) strategy for geographic routing, which dynamically adjusts the frequency of position updates based on the mobility dynamics of the nodes and the forwarding patterns in the network. APU is based on two simple principles: 1) nodes whose movements are harder to predict update their positions more frequently (and vice versa), and (ii) nodes closer to forwarding paths update their positions more frequently (and vice versa). Our theoretical analysis, which is validated by NS2 simulations of a well-known geographic routing protocol, Greedy Perimeter Stateless Routing Protocol (GPSR), shows that APU can significantly reduce the update cost and improve the routing performance in terms of packet delivery ratio and average end-to-end delay in comparison with periodic beaconing and other recently proposed updating schemes. The benefits of APU are further confirmed by undertaking evaluations in realistic network scenarios, which account for localization error, realistic radio propagation, and sparse network.