You should drink water every day. Most people have been told they should drink 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. That’s a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day.
A few groups need to take particular care to make sure their fluid levels are kept topped up and these include:
- Children: Often too busy to recognize the signs of thirst!
- Pregnant and breastfeeding ladies: Fluid is critical for baby and breastmilk
- Older people: Often don’t drink enough
- Athletes: Need regular fluid top ups as they lose more through sweat
While plain water is best for staying hydrated, other food and drinks can help too. Water can be found in fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce, and in soup broths. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas also add to the amount of water you get each day.
If staying hydrated is difficult for you, here are some tips that can help:
- Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with filtered tap water.
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
- Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
- When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger.
- If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
- Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.
How to know if you’re drinking enough?
Simply waiting for the sensation of thirst is not a good enough sign of a need to drink – by the time we feel thirsty our body is already dehydrated and potentially suffering some of the effects. Equally, simply drinking to eliminate the feeling of thirst does not fully hydrate the body.
The best indicator of good hydration is urine color. A pale straw colored urine being a reliable indicator of good hydration. Darker colored urine is a sure sign that the body needs more fluid. Getting into the habit of drinking regularly is a great way of keeping hydrated.
Water makes up more than half of your body weight. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you’re physically active, or if you have a fever.
There’s no better time to develop good habits of drinking healthy and adequate fluids that meet your specific needs. If you have more questions about what is best for you, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
Try our infused spa water recipes to up your hydration game in a delicious and healthy way.