Water is essential for our health and well-being. It fuels so many of our bodily functions, staying hydrated is absolutely vital. During the summer, it is easier to suffer from dehydration if we don’t consume enough water. However, doing so can feel like a chore and how much water is enough?
How Much Water is Enough?
For most adults, drinking one and a half to two litres of water per day is enough to keep us well hydrated. This will vary depending on levels of physical activity, the temperature as well as the other food and drink we have consumed. For example, food that is high in salt and alcoholic drinks can increase the need for water.
To know whether or not you are hydrated enough, pay attention to the colour of your urine. Ideally, your urine should be a pale straw colour. The darker your urine is, the more dehydrated you are. Obviously, this isn’t a definitive guide but simply a good indicator to help you throughout the day.
There are other signs of dehydration that include:
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Few or no tears when crying
- Increased thirst
- Muscle fatigue
- General tiredness
Elderly people, young children and babies are more at risk of dehydration; therefore it is important to be aware of the symptoms, so you can spot them and act accordingly.
Over-hydration is a Thing
Surprisingly, it is possible to drink too much water. Although it is uncommon, over-hydration can be as dangerous as dehydration. Drinking too much water can cause what is known as water intoxication. This occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted. If your electrolytes drop too low, it can be fatal. This is very rare, but it can happen.
Symptoms of overhydration include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion or disorientation
- Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
Again, your urine can indicate if your over-hydrated. If your urine is clear rather than a more yellow colour, you need to reduce your fluid intake. There are other factors that can cause over-hydration so if you are genuinely concerned for your health, always speak to your doctor.
How Can I Stay Hydrated?
Generally, any drink that isn’t alcohol can contribute to your hydration levels. Some are better than others and water itself is obviously the best option, but fruit juices and tea also work. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables also contribute to your daily fluid intake.
Here are some easy ways to stay hydrated:
- Start the day with a large glass of water or a mug of hot water and lemon.
- Keep water on hand to sip throughout the day. This can be a water bottle you keep in your bag, a glass that stays on your desk at work or a jug you keep in the fridge.
- Replace one or two of your daily tea or coffees with herbal tea.
- Drink water with your meals rather than fizzy drinks or alcohol.
- Track your fluid intake using a fitness app so you know how much you have consumed each day.
- Buy a litre water bottle, that way you know you only need to fill it twice and you’ve had enough water for the day.