How much water should you drink a day? You probably know that it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when the temperatures soar outside. But staying hydrated is a daily necessity, no matter what the thermometer says. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t getting enough to drink, especially older adults.
It has been said that the we have become so used to being dehydrated in America that most of us mistake dehydration for hunger. This has contributed to our overweight population. this is one reason that almost every diet plan includes the instruction to drink a glass of water before every meal.
Water keeps every system in the body functioning properly. The Harvard Medical School Special Health Report 6-Week Plan for Health Eating notes that water has many important jobs, such as:
- carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
- flushing bacteria from your bladder
- aiding digestion
- preventing constipation
- normalizing blood pressure
- cushioning joints
- protecting organs and tissues
- regulating body temperature
- maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.
Giving your body enough fluids to carry out those tasks means that you’re staying hydrated.
If you don’t drink enough water each day, you risk becoming dehydrated.
Signs of Dehydration
Have you heard the phrase “Drink right, pee white”? Well it’s true. Your urine can be an indicator if you’re dehydrated. If it’s colorless or light yellow, you’re well hydrated. If your urine is a dark yellow or amber color, you are probably dehydrated.
There are other signs that can signal you may be dehydrated. They include:
- Little or no urine.
- Urine that is darker than usual.
- Dry mouth.
- Sleepiness or fatigue.
- Extreme thirst.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- No tears when crying.
How much water should I drink?
Doctors say that fluid intake varies by age, gender and from one person to another. But a good solid rule is drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces every day throughout the day. This is pure water, coffee, tea and other flavored liquids are not nearly as effective.
The first and most important rule is to maintain the body’s water balance throughout the day — it is important to drink water all day long, starting from immediately on waking up, and about 30 minutes before each meal rather than with the food. With the onset of summer heat, people are recommended to drink around one-and-a-half times the recommended minimum to compensate for liquid lost through perspiration, preferably cool plain water, rather than hot drinks.
If you are expecting to be out in the heat more than usual, think ahead and drink more water for 2-3 days prior to the outing. This will help your body adjust to the change easier.