I’m sure like myself you have heard a variety of suggestions about how much water you need to drink each day. It is not as straight forward as the most common suggestion of drinking eight glasses a day. Rather, the proper amount depends on a number of factors such as the amount of activity you do, the size of your body, if you are outdoors in the heat a lot, the time of year, and more. The good news is if you listen to your body, it will always let you know if you need water.
To help you listen to your body better, I have listed a variety of symptoms that indicate when you may be dehydrated and when it’s time to drink some water.
• Muscle cramps – this is due to an imbalance of your electrolytes with sodium and potassium being the most common. The balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and our organs
• Sore joints – you may experience clicking or soreness in your joints
• Feeling tired – lack of water and oxygen in your blood will drop your blood pressure creating a feeling of fatigue
• Light headed when you stand up quickly, again due to your blood pressure dropping
• You find yourself thirsty often
• Feeling hungry – often hunger is confused with dehydration. The next time you are hungry in between meals, try a glass of water first
• Constipation as well as urine that is very yellow
• Heart palpitations or a racing of the heart (this is due to a drop in electrolytes)
• Heat stroke – this is an extreme result of dehydration as the body doesn’t have enough fluid to regulate the temperature of your body
Drinking water is one of the easiest things to include in your day, if you choose to be aware of it. There are many benefits to drinking water including, keeping your skin moisturized and looking healthy, it helps relieve and reduce headaches, neck, back, joint pain, and muscle cramps, it improves your concentration and your digestion, it increases your energy and helps rid the body of toxins. Additionally, staying hydrated can also help with weight loss, it reduces calorie intake over high calorie drinks, and can suppress your appetite.
Now that you have a better understanding about the symptoms of dehydration and how you will benefit from drinking water let’s look at the important times to drink water.
• When you first wake up (as you lose water overnight)
• Before, during and after exercise or physical activities, to help replace lost water
• When you are sick as this helps your body function at its best and flushes out the toxins
• Approximately 30 minutes before you eat to assist with digestion
• Periodically, throughout the day. I like to fill up several containers of water before I leave the house to be sure I have easy access to water all day long
Keep in mind, each season requires you to drink different amounts of water. Now that the summer heat is here and you will be doing more outside activities, you need to be more conscious of drinking water. Since our body is made up of approximately 70% water, it is very important to insure you are properly hydrated. Remember, listen to your body to be aware of any signs of dehydration.