Hydration: Are you drinking enough?

This blog looks at the issue of hydration.

The current recommendations for drinking fluid are that you should aim to drink 2 litres of water per day. However this is an arbitrary figure that might not be appropriate for everyone. 

Your hydration levels are dependent upon a number of factors including how active you are, food you eat, temperature and humidity. 

People who are more active will tend to sweat more and therefore loose fluids which will need replacing. 

Green vegetables and fruits usually have a high water content and therefore if you eat a lot of these you might not need to drink as much.

Obviously the hotter the temperature the more you will sweat, however if there is high humidity, sweat is not evaporated efficiently and therefore you will sweat even more as your body attempts to regulate your temperature. The net result is greater fluid loss and a requirement to drink more. 

Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration levels and you should not wait until you feel thirsty before drinking. 

The best indicator of your hydration levels are to examine the colour of your urine. Ideally it should be straw coloured and you should urinate about 8 times a day. 

The chart below shows different urine colours and how they relate to hydration.

 

A couple of final points to note:

Ideally you should drink water 

Although caffeine is a diuretic you will still get a net balance of fluid intake 

You should not overhydrate: hyponatremia is a consequence of drinking too much and can be fatal. This condition is when sodium levels in the are diluted and causes swelling of your cells which can be fatal. This usually occurs when people are exercising in mild or cold conditions but drinking excessively.

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