How much should we drink?

We all know that water is essential for our everyday survival and the effects of dehydration and water loss are well documented. We are told to drink loads of water each day, but what is the right amount of water? Is there a formula or magic number to ensure we stay hydrated and is it best to get all the water into our bodies as quickly as possible, or regulate our water intake for the day?

thirst-302302-mTo answer the most important question, there is no correct or magic formula to follow to ensure you are properly hydrated each day. However, there are guidelines that you can follow to ensure that you get as close as possible to the perfect daily water intake. The most important aspects to take into consideration are your body weight, environmental conditions, diet and your level of fitness. If you take weight as the one of the main factors, then a person who weighs 65 kilograms and does an hour and a half of exercise will need less water than someone of 110kilograms doing only thirty minutes of exercise. The lighter person would on average need to consume about 3 litres of water in a day, where the heavier set person will require closer to 4.5 litres on the same day. When adding in extremely warm weather conditions, then water intake will increase dramatically as our bodies needs to sweet to try and reduce its core temperature. The average male is about 85 kilograms and does about an hour’s physical activities each day, whether it is walking to and from work, the physical activities at work or general fitness training. They will need around fifteen glasses of water each day to stay correctly hydrated. That is almost four litres of water each day just to stay correctly hydrated and to ensure that our bodies function at its best.
About 20% of our water intake is from our diets, the rest we have to add by drinking water, fruit juices or other healthy fluids. Cool drinks offer some hydration, but not sufficient for continues intake. Also, bear in mind sugar sweetened drinks and fruit juices add additional calories into the body that is not needed.  Incorrect hydration from parents is often the cause for children being overweight or obese as they are giving sugar sweetened cool drinks all day long. The average bottle of cola (500ml) has the equivalent of 17 sugar cubes in it. The sugar and caffeine actually causes dehydration and can lead to serious health issues if consume in excessive amounts each day.  The mistake that many office workers make is to think that drinking many cups of coffee or tea will ensure that they are hydrated at work. In actual fact, tea and coffee add to dehydration as they cause the body to lose water faster.

The safest drink to ensure that you are always correctly hydrated is still water. The question of how many glasses or litres of water to drink each day is still a hard one to answer, but use the following as a general guideline. Start with 8 glasses of water each day as your average. Add a glass for every 30 minutes of exercise or strenuous activities around your home or office. Add an additional glass for extremely warm or cold days. Drink less coffee, tea and cola. Spread your water consumption equally across your day and add the additional glasses of water during your exercise or warm afternoons.

This basic guideline will ensure that you stay hydrated, healthier and looking younger as water will assist you with weight loss. The most important fact is to listen to your body. If you feel thirsty, drink another glass of water.