Since our bodies are made up mainly of water, it is essential to drink enough for better functioning. To stay hydrated, it's important to know how much water you need and to implement strategies to maintain optimal hydration levels in your daily life. It is also good to remember that your needs vary depending on different factors, such as temperature, physical activity, certain medical conditions and pregnancy.
Method 1 of 2: Drink water regularly
Step 1. Drink water as soon as you get up in the morning
Some people only drink milk or coffee for breakfast, but adding at least a glass of water early in the morning will promote good hydration. Keeping a bottle of water by your bed can help you remember to drink it more easily.
Step 2. Always keep a small bottle of water handy
Bottled water is inexpensive and you can easily carry it around to work, school, or whenever you're away from home for several hours. Some bottles are graduated so you can read the amount of milliliters they contain so you can keep track of your consumption.
- It is generally recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of 250 ml of water per day. If you play sports or if the weather is hot, you need to take more. Regardless, men need an average of 13 250 ml glasses of water per day, while women need 9.
- Experts recommend consuming 0.03 l (30 ml) of fluid per kilogram of body weight. This means that you need to multiply your body weight by 0.03 to calculate your fluid requirements. For example, if you weigh 70 kg, then you need to drink 2.1 l of water per day.
Step 3. Drink before you feel thirsty
Thirst is a sign of dehydration. To maintain an adequate level of hydration, it is necessary to drink frequently in order to prevent the body from sending such a signal. As you age, your body's osmoreceptors (thirst receptors) will become less effective at detecting your body's need for hydration. It is therefore best to get used to drinking frequently during the day.
Step 4. Examine your urine
In addition to drinking before you feel thirsty, you should examine your urine to determine if you have optimal hydration levels. Those who consume a sufficient amount of fluid have abundant clear or light yellow urine, while dehydrated people will urinate less and have dark yellow urine because it will be more concentrated.
Step 5. Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages
Also, you should do the same with drinks containing caffeine and sugar. Caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect, and sugary drinks (including orange juice) are not recommended for hydrating. Instead, try drinking more water. Even though it is less tasty or appealing, it is better for the overall health of your body.
Method 2 of 2: Know your hydration needs
Step 1. Be aware of certain factors
This is because certain factors can influence the amount of water you will need. To stay well hydrated, it is essential to know the amount of water to consume. Keep in mind that the basic recommendation of drinking 8 glasses of 250 ml per day may change. You may need to take more depending on the following factors:
- the amount of physical activity performed;
- the environment in which you live (when it is hot or in a closed and humidified room, it is necessary to consume more water);
- the region you live in (dehydration intensifies as altitude increases);
- pregnancy and breastfeeding are two factors that increase the need for water.
Step 2. Drink more when you are physically active
For an average workout, you need 2-3 extra glasses of water (in addition to the 8 250ml glasses that have already been recommended). If you exercise for more than an hour or train hard, you will still need more than mentioned.
- For intense training sessions or those lasting longer than an hour, a sports drink containing electrolytes is preferable to maintain an optimal level of hydration.
- In fact, intense training induces the loss of minerals through perspiration. Without them, water cannot be effectively absorbed by the digestive system, regardless of the amount consumed.
- Therefore, in remedying the loss of mineral salts, the electrolytes in sports drinks (such as Gatorade and Powerade) play an important role because they will allow your body to absorb the water you drink more efficiently..
Step 3. Be aware of certain illnesses
Be aware of illnesses that can affect your hydration level. It is essential to remember that certain disorders (especially those involving diarrhea and vomiting) make it difficult to maintain proper hydration levels. If you only throw up once or twice (for example during a food poisoning attack), you don't have to worry about your water balance. But this will be concerning if you suffer from an illness that involves diarrhea and vomiting (such as norovirus or any other gastrointestinal illness) for three to five days.
- If you have a gastrointestinal disorder, you may need to try harder than usual to stay hydrated. It would be a good idea to opt for a sports drink that contains electrolytes rather than plain water. In fact, just like what happens when you perform intense physical activity, diarrhea and vomiting will cause you to lose many minerals. Take it frequently throughout the day.
- If you are unable to retain fluids, or if you continue to have diarrhea and vomiting despite trying to stay hydrated, then you should go to an emergency department for an intravenous solution.
- To hydrate well in case of loss of mineral salts, it is necessary to compensate not only the lost water, but also the electrolytes (this is the reason why Gatorade, Powerade and other sports drinks are recommended)..
- If you suffer from such a disorder, try to drink fluids regularly during the day and get as much as possible. It is better to drink them slowly and often rather than drinking a lot at once. Indeed, exaggeration can worsen nausea and vomiting.
- Keep in mind that in the most severe cases, it may be necessary to go to the hospital for intravenous fluids to be given to maintain adequate hydration. Therefore, to be on the safe side, contact your doctor if you are concerned about your condition.
- Other disorders can also affect your hydration level, although they are rarely as serious as the stomach flu. Contact your doctor, if you would like more information on how your condition (eg kidney disease or other chronic diseases) may affect your water balance and your water requirements.
Step 4. Remember that children can get dehydrated quickly
If your child suffers from a certain disease, he may become dehydrated more quickly compared to an adult (in his condition) and in these circumstances he will need to be consulted by a doctor very early (compared to an adult). If he becomes listless, has difficulty waking up, or does not produce tears when crying, it is necessary to see a doctor. Here are other symptoms associated with dehydration in a child:
- not urinating or urinating less than usual (the infant's diaper remains dry for at least 3 hours);
- dry skin;
- dizziness or confusion;
- hollow eyes and / or fontanelles;
- rapid heartbeat or respiratory rate.
Step 5. Drink more fluids if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
10 glasses of water per day are recommended for pregnant women (instead of 8). For lactating women, it is recommended that they consume 13 glasses per day. In both cases, more fluids are needed to nourish the fetus or to promote milk production, which requires a lot of water.