Drinking enough water to stay well hydrated is a key aspect of maintaining good health. However, there is a lot of conflicting information about how much water we actually need. In this blog post, we will explore what the recommended daily water intake is, how to ensure you’re consuming the right amount of fluids and how to meet these daily hydration requirements.
What is water used for?
Water is essential for life. Water makes up around 60% of our bodies and has many significant functions including:
- Removing waste products from the body
- Transporting nutrients in the blood
- Helping regulate body temperature
Therefore, maintaining an adequate level of hydration is crucial for keeping us healthy. Drinking enough water i.e. the recommended daily amount of water is also important for helping to maintain a healthy weight. We constantly lose body water through urine and sweat, so it is essential to replace this lost fluid by drinking enough water.
Know how much you need
Many different factors have an impact on how much water we need.
An individual’s age will affect their water requirements. As a rule of thumb, adults between the ages of 18 and 60 require 35ml of water per kg of body weight; adults over 60 require slightly less – 30ml per kg. Children also have specific hydration requirements – you can read more about this here.
Other factors include:
- Gender – males have higher body water content than females, meaning they generally require more water.
- Exercise levels – people who undertake a high level of physical activity are likely to lose more water through sweat, and therefore require a higher intake.
- Environment – living in a warmer climate increases the water requirement. Air-conditioning and central heating can also increase an individual’s water needs as they speed up the evaporation of sweat from the skin.
Health status may also impact on water requirements. If an individual is losing a lot of fluid due to a health condition, or symptoms like sickness and diarrhoea, they may require more water. In these situations, it is best to consult with a doctor for advice.
How to assess if you’re drinking enough water
The simplest measure of hydration that we have is thirst – if you feel thirsty, this is a good indicator that you need to drink more water.
Another reliable indicator is urine colour. Ideally, urine should be a pale yellow straw colour as this indicates a good level of hydration. Anything darker suggests that you need to drink more water as soon as possible.
Other symptoms of dehydration include:
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or tired
- A dry mouth, lips, and eyes
- Urinating fewer than 4 times a day
There is such a thing as too much
While drinking enough water is vital for good health, drinking too much can also have adverse health consequences.
If we drink too much water, this can lead to an electrolyte imbalance called hyponatremia. This is when the salt levels within the body become too low and have potentially fatal consequences.
You can work out whether the amount of water you’re drinking is right for you by paying attention to how you feel, your thirst levels, and urine colour. Stay hydrated and keep track of how much water you’re drinking by carrying a water filter bottle.