Hydration: How Much Water Do You Actually Need?
We all know the saying about how you need eight cups of water a day along with a healthy diet to make sure you get what you need for healthy functioning.
However, if you’re active, the number is going to be much different than for someone who is sedentary. Yes, you do need more. But did you know that drinking too much water is possible? How much do you really need to stay properly hydrated?
While it’s actually extremely rare to die from drinking too little or too much fluid (thanks to your body’s processes at the molecular level that are doing everything they can to keep you alive). So it’s safe to say that individual fluid needs are based on how much water is lost. If you lose more, you need to drink more. That sounds like common sense to most people.
There are three main factors when it comes to how much fluid is needed for an individual: body weight, temperature of the environment, and levels of physical activity. These main factors determine your base level of fluid intake. But other factors could come into play, such as alcohol and being sick (both of which will require you to drink more water).
When you overhydrate, your kidneys have to work extra hard to process the liquid. Aside from the frequent trips to the bathroom that you may find inconvenient, too much water can upset the optimal sodium levels in your body. This can affect your bodily functions and may lead to muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and even seizures.
But don’t let this scare you off from drinking water. Water, aside from keeping you alive, has so many benefits. You may feel your brain working more efficiently. It’s great for your joints. It helps to regulate your digestive system. Your skin will start glowing.
Long story short, there is no “one size fits all” prescription for everyone. Eight cups of water a day is just an average number, but remember you should adjust the number according to your body weight, environment, and physical activity.
As we stress with our Mindful Athlete Program, when your physical health is in place, it will help elevate the other aspects of your life. We encourage you to find the balance between ensuring you drink enough without overhydrating!