Hydration is important and water is one of the best ways to hydrate, but you can overdo it. You need to drink for your size and need. A lot of things will affect the amount of water your body needs. If you’re in a room that’s too warm or outside in the hot sun, you’ll need to rehydrate more than if you’re sitting comfortably in an air conditioned room. Water is far more important than food for survival, but how much is enough and when do you cross the line to too much?
There’s a lot of factors that determine how much water you need.
Your size is one important factor. Most people know that it’s recommended that you drink eight 8-oz glasses of water a day, but that may not be enough. Your sex makes a difference. Mayo clinic suggests that men drink as much as 15.5 cups of fluid a day, while women need about 11.5 cups. You’ll notice that it says fluids, not just water, so it includes tea, coffee and other beverages. The fluid can also come from the food you eat, which is about 20% of the average person’s fluid intake.
Your weight plays an important role in water intake.
The more you weigh, the more fluid you need. You can calculate the amount by taking half or two thirds of your weight in pounds and making that the amount of ounces you need. For instance, a 120 pound woman would need 80 ounces, since 2/3 of 120 is 80. If it’s hot, you also need more fluid, since you perspire more, losing fluid. Exercise also causes you to perspire, so you need to replace it with extra water. The higher your elevation, the more water you require. Health issues, like vomiting, fever and diarrhea also cause dehydration. Lactating and pregnant women also require more fluid.
You can drink too much water at one time, causing hyponatremia.
The term for drinking too much water at one time is also called water intoxication or water poisoning. It causes your cells to swell that can create health issues. It’s based on how much water is consumed in an hour. More than four cups an hour can create the problem. The excess fluid can overwhelm the kidneys and the swelling cells can cause problems, especially if it’s in the brain or vital organ. Ironically the symptoms of headache, confusion, vomiting and nausea, fatigue and muscle spasms and cramps are the same as dehydration. How do you tell the difference? Look at your urine. If it’s a dark yellow, you’re dehydrated. Clear and colorless you’re over hydrated.
- Schedule your fluid intake throughout the day if you have a problem drinking more water. Carry a bottle with you and sip on it throughout the day. Don’t guzzle bottles of water all at once if you’re thirsty. Take it slowly.
- Most people need to hydrate more. Drinking more water can help limit UTIs, kidney stones, reduce bloating and even help you lose weight. A glass of water before a meal can help fill you up, so you don’t eat as much.
- If you’re older, you may need to drink more fluid, since older people dehydrate faster than young people. Signs of dehydration resemble dementia in seniors. Achy joints can also be caused by dehydration, since water lubricates the joints.
- Staying hydrated can help reduce the appearance of aging. It helps keep the skin plump and more youthful. It can make your eyes appear more youthful, as well as preventing some wrinkling.
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