Lists about good health will always include four essential things: Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep — and drinking lots of water. That last one can be the simplest and easiest one to get right because you can get started on it right now, wherever you are.
The one common piece of advice is that you need eight glasses of water a day. Dr. Zaheeruddin Syed, a family medicine physician with Lee Health, says drinking water helps with digestion and weight loss. “You need water for your skin, for your organs, for cellular respiration, for digestion, and to just clean all the toxins out of your body.” But most experts say that water needs vary by individual. Sex, weight, and physical activity means you may need more or less than those eight glasses.
Food counts, too
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported that an adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men, 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. That comes to about six or eight glasses a day, so you don’t need to do a lot of intricate measuring. Don’t forget that you can also get some water through certain foods such as lettuce, watermelon, and spinach as well as any soups or broths that you may add to your dinner.
Your true colors
Basically, you have to look and understand the signs your own body is sending you. The best test is checking on your urine color. “You want to look at your urine and see how frequently you are going to the restroom. If you’re going once a day or your urine is a dark yellow, then that kind of gives an indication systemically that I’m not getting enough water. I need to drink more,” Dr. Syed says, adding that you’ll need to drink more water if you have a dry tongue, a dry mouth, or your eyes or skin feel dry.
Know the symptoms
Water also gets excreted through sweat – and that’s a big concern in Southwest Florida. Always drink extra water if you are outdoors to avoid dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration are feeling tired, dizzy, or lightheaded. Even mild dehydration can make you feel a lot of fatigue.
How do I get into the habit?
OK, so we know we need to drink more water. But it’s a tough habit to get into if you aren’t used to it. Here are some quick ideas:
- Don’t like the taste of water or find it too bland? Many wellness sites recommend adding a slice of cucumber or lemon to your glass or pitcher. Or add a flavor packet for color or taste. You can even try some carbonated water for some fun and filling bubbles.
- Start to play little games. Remind yourself to drink water before or after every bathroom break. Are you app crazy? You can use one to track your water usage. Take a sip before or after every meal or after every email or phone call. Believe it or not, drinking water can actually be fun.
- Add water to your routine at home: Before a shower, with breakfast, while you are making dinner, before you do the laundry, when you wash your face at night. Get a jug and tape or write hourly intake reminders on the bottle so you can measure your progress. It only takes a few days for your brain to recognize a pattern and start a new habit.
- Many experts talk up the use of mental triggers: Get a cool mug with your favorite sports team, use a glass or a jug that has a personal meaning or can serve as a conversation piece. Another trigger might be incorporating water into your afternoon snack or caffeine kick.
- Finally, drinking lots of water throughout the day may make you visit the restroom more often, which might feel like an irritation—but getting up from your desk and walking is always a good move. Drinking more water will make you feel happier and more productive, so use it as an excuse to walk past your co-workers and interact more on your way to the bathroom.
Remember that soda and sugary drinks are not good substitutes for water. If you love drinking these, though, remember to drop in a squirt of water or add some ice to your drinks, and you’ll eventually start to feel the difference.
The body constantly loses water throughout the day, mostly through urine and sweat but also from regular body functions like breathing. To prevent dehydration, you need to get plenty of water from drink and food every day.
There are many different opinions on just how much water you should be drinking every day.
Health experts commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon a day. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.
However, some experts believe that you need to sip on water constantly throughout the day, even when you’re not thirsty.
As with most things, this depends on the individual. Many factors (both internal and external) ultimately affect how much water you need.
This article takes a look at some water intake studies to separate fact from fiction and explains how to easily stay well hydrated for your individual needs.