About 60% of an adult body is made up of water. In addition to that, everything that we do will require our body to use some amount of water in the body. One of the reasons that you can move, blink your eyes, have the food you eat digested, and even think clearly, is the presence of body water that moves all other elements needed to accomplish specific body functions. Because of that, the water that is stored in your body needs to be replaced every few minutes to ensure that you will be at your best throughout the day. If you are heading out for the gym and you forget to bring one of the best water bottles for gym, you will soon feel dehydrated and will have to rush to the nearest water fountain or vending machine if there is one in the gym to quench your thirst with any available beverage.
The need to drink is as automatic as breathing. Every moment we take in air to live. However, even if water is an essential and basic element of life, many still fail to get as much as what the body requires to stay hydrated. As a result, many succumb to hydration. For those who would rather stand on the safer side, at times would overhydrate thinking that if they drink more, there will be more than enough for their body to keep them alert and fully functioning. Both actions are actually hazardous to health.
Read on to know how much water you really need to stay properly hydrated
Even the most active and professional athletes understand the importance of hydration. The problem, however, is that not everyone really drinks enough. Many would rely on their thirst before topping up. You have also been accustomed to many of those who teach that you need to drink eight 8 ounces of water every day and that you need to drink water before and during an intensive workout.
What you don’t realize is that your hydration need may be different from another person’s actual hydration requirement. Note that there are different factors at play that make you feel like you need water or any refreshing drink. Your age, body mass, sex, even the intensity of your activity, as well as your overall health will influence how much your body may need to replenish any body fluid that you lose.
Consider an expecting mother doing an exercise and a young male student in the same gym. Do you think they would need the same amount of water? Of course not. Other than the obvious factors that may influence each of these character’s need for water, there are also underlying reasons that may affect their need to hydrate. What we are after at the moment is not these factors but to provide a general understanding of the amount of water that anyone needs to stay hydrated.
These signs say you have not been drinking enough
Most would rely on their level of thirst before actually reaching out for a glass of water or a water bottle to top up. Dr. Irvin Sulapas, a primary care sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University says that “The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even before you begin your outdoor activity.” Note also that by that time about 2-3% of your body water is already used up. Even if you top up it will take some time for the water to be distributed to the cells, blood, and to other parts that need it. In that case, you are even more dehydrated by the time the replacement body water is made available to specific parts of the body.
The best way to determine if you are taking in enough fluids is the color of your urine. Although there are other health conditions that may affect the color of your urine, if you are generally healthy, a dark urine means you are getting less than what your body needs.
As there are confusing thoughts on this matter, many who fear dehydrate themselves just considered drinking as much and as often as possible. This can also be detrimental to your health.
Why is too much water bad for your health?
Overhydrating can increase the liquid part of blood (plasma) at the same time decrease the sodium concentration in the body fluids. This happens as the sodium in the body gets diluted and may also be lost when you sweat. This can lead to a serious condition called hyponatremia, or low blood sodium. When this happens, it can lead to tissue damage, and will also interfere with brain, heart, and muscle functions.
Severe symptoms of this condition include vomiting, muscle twitching, delirium, seizures, and coma. It had even claimed the lives of a few marathon runners as well as military recruits. So, if you think you can get overzealous about drinking, remember that it can also have a deadly consequence just like hydration.
How much water should you drink to stay properly hydrated?
Hydration when you need to engage in an intensive activity as a workout, running, biking, and so on, should start a couple of hours even before you head out of your home. It should also be continuously done and at regular intervals throughout the activity.
For a more specific water intake, consider the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine as presented in an article published in its Health and Fitness Journal. The recommendations specifically indicate that drinking more than 800 mL per hour may increase the risk of developing dilutional hyponatremia. They also expressed the need to drink 16 to 20 fluid oz 4 hours before exercise, especially if you notice that your pre-exercise weight is reduced. Finally, they also impressed that there should be about 8 to 12 hours recovery period from your previous exercise session as this will enhance fluid replacement.