One of the most common pieces of advice that you may have often heard is that you should drink eight glasses of water every day. There are tons of articles on the internet that even vouch for this habit.
But have you questioned yourself if your body needs such an amount of water or not?
Throughout the day, your body loses water through urine and sweat glands and you have to constantly replenish this fluid in your body. Your water requirement can also vary from day to day depending on a number of factors, such as your health, the level of activity you are involved in and weather conditions. Therefore, the standard norm of drinking eight glasses of water every day might be too much or too less for your body. So, the question then arises: How much water should you drink every day?
Fortunately, our body is equipped with mechanisms that tell you when you need to drink water. Here are some signs you need to read in your body.
Once your body loses about one to two percent of water, it signals its need by making you feel thirsty. So you can simply use thirst as your guide to figure how much water you should drink every day. However, it is also true that by the time your thirst mechanism kicks in, you might already be a bit dehydrated as shown by studies which reveal that about two-thirds of us are dehydrated and need to drink more water. Therefore, it is only wise to learn to read a few other signs (listed below) that your body uses to tell you to drink more water.
A good rule of thumb is to check the color of your urine. Urine is an important part of the body’s waste disposal process. It does this by removing the extra water and extra-soluble wastes the kidneys filter from the blood. Dark colored urine is a sign that you are not drinking enough fluid. Tomas Griebling, MD, MPH, Vice Chair of the Urology department at the University of Kansas says,“Your body needs a certain amount of fluid to function, so the body will hold on to fluid and the urine will become very strong and concentrated. When that happens, it will turn a darker color.” You may also urinate less frequently for the same reason. Therefore, you should drink enough water to turn your urine into a light colored yellow.
Since your thirst mechanism becomes less efficient with old age, you should heed to the color of your urine to ensure adequate water intake. The frequency of urination is also a good indicator to judge your water intake. A healthy person urinates about seven to eight times a day. If your urine is scanty or you haven’t urinated for long, then it’s a sign that you need to drink more water.
Cells that don’t maintain its balance of fluids result in muscle fatigue. Dr Steven Guest, MD, Nephrologist and Medical Director of Peritoneal Dialysis at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Clara says, Dr Steven Guest, MD, says: “When muscles don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer.” So, fatigue is another sign that you are not drinking enough fluids and that you need to build its intake.
3) Dull, Dry Skin & Pronounced Wrinkles
Water helps keep the skin in good health. Dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD says,“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration.” Therefore, your skin can help you gauge how much water you need to drink every day.
When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration which results in constipation. So, you should drink enough water to maintain adequate hydration in your body that keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation.