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how much water should I drink?

How Much Water Should I Drink?

Every month, thousands of people ask the same question …
“How much water should I drink?”

It’s amazing how something so basic to our human survival has become such a mainstream question with regards to our health and fitness.

Why is it so important that we now need to know how much to drink?

Is it because we are all suddenly overly thirsty? I think not.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve just had our brains wiped and forgotten to just have a drink when we feel like it?

I think the problem stems from too much misinformation on the internet, and too much reliance on this information to inform us if something is good, bad or otherwise.

We’ve basically forgotten how to be … human – and rely on our natural instincts.

It is true to say though that most people are dehydrated for the majority of the day, and they just don’t know it.

If you go and hit up Google, it’s going to list a whole raft of side-effects you’ll have from not drinking enough water, such as:
Headaches, Moodiness, Dizziness and many other symptoms.

You don’t need to be looking this stuff up. The answer is so simple.

If you’re thirsty, go get a drink. If you’re not thirsty, don’t worry about it.

So, if it’s that simple, why are so many people looking this stuff up?

Let’s find out …

Why do you need water?

> Water keeps our bodies working well and helps us stay fit and healthy.

> Every day you are losing water through your breath, sweat and when you pee.

> This water needs to be replaced through the food and drink you consume.

Fantastic Fact: Up to 60% of an adults body is made up of water!
According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, this is how watery we are …

Brain & Heart : 73% Water
Lungs: 83% Water
Skin: 64% Water
Muscles & Kidneys: 79% Water
Bones: 31% Water

So, the reason you need to drink a certain amount of water each day is for survival. To keep your body functioning.

When you don’t drink enough water throughout the day you’ll start to feel a little off. Thirst and Tiredness will be your first noticeable symptoms, possibly followed by a mild headache and moodiness along with a steady mental and physical decline.

There are of course different levels of dehydration such as Mild, Chronic and acute.

The majority of people who are dehydrated are not chronically dehydrated, and so should not read into or worry about the more dangerous side-effects of not drinking enough water.

You just want to know how many glasses (or cups) of water you should be drinking each day in order to maintain your health, right?

How much water do you need?

An Adult Male needs around 3 Litres of water per day.

An Adult Female needs a little less, at around 2.2 Litres of water per day.

1 Litre = Approx 3.5 Cups of Water
1 Litre = 1,000 ml of Water

These are only approximate amounts and will vary from person to person.

The great news is you don’t have to get all this water from drinking. Many foods contain a high percentage of water, such as most fruits and many vegetables.

If you eat a good varied diet, you’ll likely get around 1 litre of water per day from your food alone, which leaves around 2 (ish) Litres to get from water and other beverages.

You’ll often read that “8 cups of water per day” is quoted as the amount you should aim to drink each day, so based on the above numbers it’s a fairly on-point amount.

Personally, I use my protein shaker bottle which has markers up to 700ml.

I always start my day drinking a whole bottle, as I’m fairly dehydrated first thing in the morning and it helps to wake me up 🙂

Water Bottle

However, the amount you actually need will depend on many factors such as your weight, age, health, activity level and even the outside temperature.

Your thirst is the best gauge of how much you should drink, rather than forcing copious amounts of water down your throat when you don’t feel like it, just because you read it somewhere.

Can other beverages like Coffee dehydrate you?

Drinking a few cups of your favourite coffee each day may lead to the additional loo trip however, studies [1]Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance by pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19774754 have shown that those extra toilet trips do not necessarily lead to further dehydration.

Although you may produce more urine over a period of 24 hours, you would be no less hydrated than a normal water drinker. Great news huh!

The same goes for other caffeine based beverages such as tea and coke.

Calculating your water needs …

There are a couple of ways to test if you are hydrated or not and, based on these you can then decide to go get a drink … or not.

#1 Check your toilet
The more dehydrated you are, the greater the saltiness of your urine.

Luckily, there is an alternative way to check other than taste 😮
The greater the saltiness, the darker the colour. Check out the chart below [2] Chart provided by www.urinecolours.com to give you an idea of what level of dehydration or hydration you might have.

Are you dehydrated?

Note# Just remember that these colours are most accurate if you pee straight into a bottle or cup. If you are comparing the colour to what you see in the toilet, then the additional water already in the toilet bowl will dilute your urine by 1 or 2 shades.

#2 Drink when you are thirsty
This is super easy to remember, and is the best option for most people.

Sometimes when you actually feel thirsty you may find you already are fairly dehydrated (check you pee colour above!)

If you remember to drink regularly throughout the day you’ll unlikely ever be gasping for a drink.

In Summary

As far as being hydrated, if you’re not feeling thirsty and your pee colour is not like those in the above chart then just grab a drink when you feel like it.

Unless you are seriously sweating from an overly intense workout session or you are hiking across the dunes with the sun beating you for hours on end, just remember to drink something regularly throughout the day.

References

References
1 Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance by pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19774754
2 Chart provided by www.urinecolours.com

David Gordon

Hi! and welcome to DHG Fitness, where I help you improve your Lifestyle by showing you How To Eat Well, Exercise (the right exercise!), Burn Calories (Fat) and Reduce Your Stress.
You can read more about me here