As the summer heats up, it is more important than ever to be sure we�re drinking enough water. This leads to the age-old question of how much is really enough?
Traditionally, experts have said that an average of eight 8 oz glasses per day is sufficient. However, on an individual basis this might not be enough, so it is important to factor in your personal lifestyle and environment when considering how much water you should drink. Most adults will lose between two to three quarts of water per day as part of their normal bodily function, but those with active or athletic lifestyles will definitely lose more. Climate also plays a role in healthy water consumption, because working or living in a warmer environment will contribute to greater loss of bodily fluids. For those people, it is critical that they drink more water to make up for water loss through perspiration, as well as in the regulation of bod temperature.
The human body is made up of approximately 55-70% water, but it doesn�t have the ability to replenish itself. Drinking water is critically important to maintaining a healthy balance and sometimes people have no idea how dehydrated they really are. Surprisingly, thirst is not an accurate indicator of dehydration. Often by the time someone feels extremely thirsty or parched, they are already severely dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can lead to a decrease in one�s energy level and mental functioning, thereby increasing stress on the body. Severe dehydration can be far more damaging. When dehydration sets in, the best method of replenishing our bodies is to drink water. Often the drinks we reach for to �quench� our thirst can actually dehydrate us even more. Although a cold soda may feel incredibly refreshing, these beverages are not intended to hydrate. Coffee and alcohol can act as mild diuretics, which increase urination and lead to greater water loss. Although some fruit juices or teas may provide some fluid benefits, water is still best.
When it comes to drinking water, there are three easy rules to follow:
- Drink twice as much as it takes to stop feeling thirsty.
- Drink water throughout the day.
- Drink at least 8 glasses each day or one cup for every 20 pounds of body weight. For example, a 200 pound person who doesn�t exercise or live in a warm climate should drink at least 10 cups of water per day.
Make a habit of filling a pitcher or large water bottle with the amount of water you will need for the day. Sip on it throughout the day and you will, at least, have some assurance that you�re drinking the proper amount of water each day.
Another indicator of dehydration is the color of your urine. If you are drinking enough water and your body is hydrated, your urine should be pale yellow to almost clear. Dark yellow urine is an indicator that your body is dehydrated and is concentrating urine to conserve fluids.
In summary, drink plenty of clean drinking water - your body will thank you!