Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids.
Water is absolutely critical to our body which comprises about 75% water; the brain has 85%, blood 90%, lungs 90%, muscles 75%, kidney 82% and even bones has 22%. Basically, we are made of water!
How much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.
Health benefits of water
Water dissolves many valuable nutrients, minerals, and chemicals in the biological processes and transports them to different parts of our body. The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. Water is just as important in the transport of waste and toxins out of our bodies. Without the replenishment of fresh water, our body will fail to function, start to waste away, and finally collapse. An adult loses about 2.5 litres water every day through perspiration, breathing, and elimination (urine and faeces), and when the body loses 5% of its total water volume, symptoms of dehydration such as thirst, unexplained tiredness, irritation, dark urine, will begin to show up.
How much water should you drink a day?
Ask yourself and work out how much water should you drink a day and target to make it happen.
So, how much water should you drink a day? How much water is enough for you? We recommend 8 glasses of water a day. Please remember that to much water in the body is not good for you.
When is the best time to drink water
The most important time to drink water is in the morning when you awake. This is critical as you have just gone 8 hours with no water. When you are asleep you lose water through breathing, and from sweating. If you wake in the morning and hydrate your body then your body will perform the way it should. I recommend 2 glasses first thing in the morning about 500ml then wait 30 minutes then eat your breakfast. Drink no more than a glass of water with each meal and between each meal And last of all a glass of water before you go to bed. Drink water before, during and after exercise.
Staying safely hydrated
Generally, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 litres (6.3 cups) or more of colourless or light yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate. To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice.
Factors that influence water needs
You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 millilitres (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise and the duration and type of exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you’re finished exercising.
Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires an additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhoea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. Also, you may need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
Pregnancy or breastfeeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant or breastfeeding women drink 2.3 litres (about 10 cups) of fluids daily