I don’t know about you, but I know I don’t drink enough water throughout the day, especially as I rarely drink water (almost all of my daily water is found inside my coffee cup). Some of that may be down to my own laziness- may- but with so many “experts” telling us different things is it any wonder people end up confused and dehydrated?
“Be sure to drink 2 litres everyday”, “Have a glass of water with every meal”. Isn’t it eight glasses per day we’re meant to drink? Well, hold on, that’s a bit vague. How big is the glass because I’m going to get very different results if I drank eight pints of water compared to if I drank eight half-pints. And was that ‘eight glasses’ per day for a man or a woman?
There are some factors that need to be taken into consideration here, just a few of them being Size, Activity Level, Stress, Climate/Temperature, Diet, Illness, as well as gender, before we can figure out if we’re really getting the right amounts we need to stay hydrated.
So what happens if we’re not getting the right amount? Actually, a lot!
From as little as a 1.5% decrease in hydration our bodies start to give out warning signs. Dry mouth being one of the most obvious ones; your body makes you feel thirsty in order to obtain more fluid. On top of this, at the same level of dehydration you get a reduction in your cognitive ability and maybe even headaches. A 3% drop in hydration means clear thought starts to drop as the “brain-fog” starts to take over and if you make it to 5% then you could be looking at a 25-30% drop in overall energy levels.
On top of all this, regularly allowing yourself to go long periods without drinking can lead to constipation, muscle tiredness, a dip in concentration and short-term memory, as well as an increase in feelings of anxiety and irritability. What’s scarier is that dehydration is one of the most common risk factors in developing kidney stones… And none of us want that!
Well then how much do I need to drink to avoid all that?
To determine that for a specific individual, we’re going to need a little bit of math (I heard the sigh from here!). Firstly, you need to find out your bodyweight. This can be in pounds or kilograms but whichever one you chose determines the formula you use. So…
- In Kilos (Kg): Times your bodyweight by 0.033 and this will give you the amount of Litres you need to consume daily. For example, let’s say I weigh 70kg: 70 x 0.033 = 2.31. So I would need to drink at least 2.3 litres of water per day, it’d be easier to just round it up to 2.5.
- In pounds (Lbs): We’re going to half your bodyweight in pounds in order to work out the number of Ounces you need everyday, then divide by 8 to get the number of 8oz glasses you’d need to drink. So if I weigh 155lbs: 155/2= 77.5, this is the amount of Ounces you’d need to drink daily. If we divide that number by 8 (77.5/8=9.6) then I’d need to drink almost 10 glasses each day.
And if I drink that much water everyday I can avoid all the problems?
Well… yes and no. It’d also depend on the quality of the water you’re drinking. Something I read in a post by Andrea Sarjeant over at MindBodyGreen.com clued me in to this:
City water is chlorinated to remove pathogens and disinfect the water. Chlorine is a skin irritant (consider mounting a shower filter if you suffer from eczema or dry skin), pro-oxidant, and destroyer of friendly microflora and stomach acid. When our friendly microflora are wiped out, we can suffer from bloating and slower digestion, and when our stomach isn’t able to produce as much stomach acid and enzymes as it should, digestion can become downright uncomfortable.
Meaning watch out for the amount of chlorine in your water. Flouride too.
So now that we know exactly how much we should be drinking, how are we going to get it in everyday? It can get pretty boring pretty fast drinking just plain old water glass after glass. Well, there’s hydration sachets and tablets like Dioralyte you can add for flavour instead of things like squash or juice; or try infusing it with something like mint, cucumber and citrus fruits to get electrolytes back into your system. Drinking warm lemon water each morning is a great way to hydrate yourself at the start of the day.
As a surprise, I was given the perfect present to help me in my pursuit of hydration (and just in time for this post): a Hydratem8. For anyone that doesn’t know, Hydratem8 are a niche health and wellness brand that make water bottles with motivations and timings on them- and all in a sleek design (Plus I LOVE how I got a purple one!). I’ve recently seen them all over Twitter and Instagram. The adult bottles are around 890ml or 30Fl oz, they also do bottles for kids and one for health and fitness, which they call the Active Bottle.
If you’re interested in a more detailed version of staying hydrated for something specific such as in your Workplace, Pregnancy, Exercise, or even its effects on your Kidneys or Urinary Tract then these factsheets I found by the Natural Hydration Council will be more help.
That’s going to be all for now, hopefully like me you’ll have a better idea of what’s needed to look after yourself and keep yourself running in tip-top form. If so much as one person benefits from this I’ll be very happy.
Do you drink as much water as you should? Or even feel like drinking more after reading this? Let me hear about it in the comments below- and if you enjoyed this feel free to also hit the ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons 😉
See you again next week for my third Health & Fitness Friday!