The old adage is that you should drink between 8 and 10 glasses of water every day, to stay healthy and hydrated. We’ve talked before about how this is not necessarily true, and that a lot of the water you need can be obtained from the food you eat. However, that doesn’t mean that staying hydrated isn’t important, or that it can’t have important health benefits.
When to Drink Water
The basic rule of thumb in most circumstances is to drink when you’re thirsty. In many cases, going by that alone is enough to keep yourself hydrated. However, as you get older, you may find that you’re not able to sense your own thirst as much as you used to. Especially during the hot, summer months, this can lead to dehydration. If you’re on a diuretic or other medication that can cause you to lose fluids, that could make the problem worse.
Signs of dehydration include dizziness or weakness, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, and urine that has a darker color than normal. To avoid it, drink about a liter and a half of water per day. Do it gradually over the course of the day, rather than all at once.
How to Get Your Water
Remembering to drink your liter and a half per day can be a chore unto itself. There are a few ways of reminding yourself. One way is to drink whenever you go somewhere or do something throughout the day.
Wake up, have a drink of water. Go to the grocery store, have a drink of water (you can buy a bottle there if you like, but you’ll save money by bringing a sports bottle with you. You can even fill it up at the drinking fountain). Come home, have another drink of water. And again if you go to the gym, go out with friends, etc. This works great if you maintain an active lifestyle and go and do a fair number of different places and things throughout the day. If not, though, you may want to try another method.
You can set an alarm on your phone to go off throughout the day and remind you to drink water, but this can get annoying after a while and interrupt what you were doing. You can also invest in a smart water bottle that measures how much water you’ve drunk that day and syncs you’re your smartphone to provide gentle reminders of when it’s time to drink more.
It’s also a good idea to eat foods that are rich in water, such as fruits, vegetables, salads, etc. By eating healthy, you can make up for not getting enough water in other ways.
It’s also important not to get too much water. If you have certain health issues, such as with your kidneys, liver, thyroid, or heart—or are taking certain medications for these and other ailments—it can affect the amount of water you need and even make it more difficult to eliminate water that you’ve drunk. Talk to your doctor and find out how much water they recommend you get per day, and how and how often they recommend you drink it.
Staying hydrated can have a number of health benefits. It can keep you focused and give you energy. If you find yourself getting tired in the afternoons, try a glass of water before turning to coffee or energy drinks, and you may see a vast improvement. It can also keep your skin healthy by keeping it from drying out.
You may not have to have eight glasses every day, but staying hydrated is important to your health and can improve your life in a variety of different ways. Are you drinking enough water?