Probably the most used and heard phrase when we ask what we can do to improve our health is:
Drink more water!
How much water do we really need to drink every day? Some say 8 glasses, others say 2 litres.
The truth is it varies somewhat for each of us.
What we eat, the climate we live in and the exercise we do, all affect how much water we need to drink.
However, the simplest indicator is our weight - because a 55kg person doesn't require the same amount of water as a 95kg person.
As a result, the most important factor to consider is your weight - and that gives us very simple guidelines as a starting point for calculating our required water consumption.
STEP 1: Calculate water intake based on weight
Take your weight in kilograms
Divide by 30
The answer = the amount of water you should consume per day in litres
Weight in kgs = 70kgs
Divide by 30
The answer = 2.3 litres
STEP 2: Add more water for physical activity
Add 350 ml to the figure for every half an hour that you exercise
Example: If you exercise for an hour every day, 700 ml of water to your daily requirement.
STEP 3: Take in mind your food
Luckily about 20-25% of our water intake comes from the food we eat - especially from vegetables and fruit. An orange has about 122 grams of water, which means if you eat an orange you can reduce your water intake by 122 ml. You probably won't be adding this all up daily, but this table below gives you a general idea.
STEP 4: CAN I DRINK TOO MUCH WATER?
Drinking too much water is rarely a problem for healthy, well-nourished adults. Athletes may occasionally drink too much water in an attempt to prevent dehydration during long or intense exercise.
Drinking too much water (overhydration) can however be life-threatening.
When you drink too much water, your kidneys can't get rid of the excess water. The sodium content of your blood becomes diluted. This is called hyponatremia and it can be life-threatening. Sodium is a crucial element that helps keep the balance of fluids in and out of cells. When its levels drop due to a high amount of water in the body, fluids get inside the cells.
When there's too much water in the cells (including brain cells) it causes the cells to swell. When the cells in the brain swell, they cause pressure in the brain. You may start experiencing things like confusion, drowsiness, and headaches.
So more is not always better.
STEP 5: How much water should I drink at a time
The best way to consume water is to take sips throughout the day, rather than 500- 1000ml at a time. If you're trying to get into the habit of drinking more water - try setting yourself a goal every two hours e.g. if you aim to drink 2 litres every day - set a goal of 500mls every 2-3 hours.