We all want to stay properly hydrated during these hot days of summer but the recommendations on how much water to drink keep changing. Even if you don’t have an exact figure in mind, you probably know that you need to drink more. So you probably should carry water around with you, or know where you can find refill stations like Aquafil (click this link). How much should you be aiming for?
Don’t Wait Until Thirsty
The most important tip to getting enough water is to not wait until you feel thirsty to get a drink. By the time your body starts to show you symptoms of thirst (starting with dry mouth usually), you are already starting to dehydrate. You really need to have a drink before you feel like you need it.
Water is Best
Plain water may not be the most exciting beverage but it is the best one to keep your body hydrated. A long-standing myth that coffee and tea will actually make your body lose water has proven untrue, so both would count towards your water intake though the caffeine and other compounds aren’t all that healthy in large amounts. Juice has a lot more flavor, along with a huge amount of sugar.
One healthy way to improve the taste of your daily water intake is to add a few chunks of fresh fruit to a pitcher of cold water. Leave it overnight, and in the morning you have some lightly fruit-flavored water that is very refreshing but without the sugar content.
So How Much?
Back to our original question. How much water should you drink each day? The old adage that we’ve all heard is eight 8-oz cups of water per day, or just a little under 2 liters. One great thing about this rule is that it’s easy to remember (8 cups of 8oz) but it may not really be quite enough. More current thinking has the number closer to 9 cups of water for women, and 13 for men.
Remember that this is just a baseline figure, and that any time you have a lot of physical activity or hot weather, you should drink even more.
Signs of Dehydration
If you find you really aren’t coming even close to your water goals, you should keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. After the usual dry mouth, you will start to get a headache, feel fatigued, get muscle cramps and notice a drop in urine production.
A handy way to monitor how much you are drinking is to fill a bottle or pitcher with your goal amount (just over 2L for women, 3L for men) and know you have to drink the entire amount by the end of the day. It may not work if you are away from home for most of the day but it can be a place to start. There are apps you can use on your phone that allow you to enter in amounts as you drink through the day. It will let you know how much you have to go.