It is important to drink enough. Some people may have told you that you must drink eight glasses of water a day. Some say seven glasses. But, how much is enough? In fact, the size of the glass can be subjective.
The real truth is that eight or even nine glasses of water a day can be too much or too little. How much you drink depends on many factors and here are few of them:
- The amount of physical activity. The longer you exercise and the higher intensity is your workout, the more water you need.
- Whether it is hot, humid or cold weather. Hot or humid weather make you sweat and therefore require more intake of fluid.
- Whether you are at low or high altitude. Altitudes greater than 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
- Your health condition – whether you having fever or diarrhea. You will need to drink more when you are sick.
- Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated.
A general recommendations for woman is approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water from all beverages and foods a day whereas man will need about 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. Source.
Just because you have this number does not mean you need to drink all the water you need a day all at once. Don’t be lazy. Drink at different times throughout the day. Also, 20 percent of the liquid intake is derived from food whereas about 80 percent of total water intake comes from drinking water and beverages. So, when you do not drink 2.7 liters or 3.7 liters from your glass, no worry.
Some people worry that if they drink water too frequent, they will have to run to the bathroom pretty often. Initially, that will happen. However, after several weeks once the bladder has got used to it, they will urinate less frequent but in larger amount. Going to toilet once every 2 to 3 hours is considered normal.
So, how do you know when it is time to drink? Here are the 3 ways to find out:
- When you are thirsty, then it is time to drink. However, as we get older, we may experience less thirst, so, it is advised to drink before thirst sets in.
- The other better way to know is from the color of the urine. If it is colorless or slightly yellow, then you are drinking enough and vice versa.
- Other signs of not drinking enough water include dry mouth, headache and constipation.
In addition to how much you should drink, you should watch out on what you drink. Water is still the best source for your daily fluid needs. You can drink other beverages such as milk, herbal teas, fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Though soft drinks is considered as source, just watch out the added calories which you do not need for your daily diet.
Last but not least, beverages with caffeine or alcohol (beer or hard liquoe) will increase fluid output, making it more difficult for you to stay adequately hydrated. So, not only quantity, but also what you drink is important.
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