Eight glasses of water a day is something that has been drilled into our brains for years as the ideal amount of fluid to drink each day. Yet ‘experts’ still cannot agree the actual amount we need for optimal performance.
How much water you should drink each day really depends on each person, Factors such as sex, environmental conditions, level of heat acclimatization, exercise or work intensity, age, and diet should all be taken into account.
So basically, you need to listen to your body. If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated and need some water ASAP. Another way to monitor hydration is to look at your pee before you flush. If it is the same colour as lemonade, you are well hydrated. If it’s darker, go pour yourself a glass and chug it back.
To gauge how much water you specifically should take in during exercise, you can do a small and simple experiment yourself……..
First, before you work out weigh yourself wearing with little to no clothing. If possible, make sure you are hydrated beforehand, and try not to drink during the exercise to make the maths easier. However if you do get thirsty, make sure you have a drink and DO NOT ignore it. Drink some and measure the amount. I can’t stress this enough. If you feel you need it, take some water on board.
After you’re done exercising, weigh yourself again. Then, take your first weight and subtract the second weight, and you’ll end up with how much fluid you lost. Convert this to kilograms (if you search it, Google will return the number for you or try a metric converter), then drink that amount in litres. (If you drank some water during exercise, subtract the amount of water you drank from your final total.)
Why is it important to get the right amount?
Dehydration is dangerous, but over hydration can be just as bad.
Exercise-associated hyponatremia is an electrolyte imbalance that can be caused by drinking too much liquid. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, headaches and fatigue. In serious cases can even lead to a coma and worse. Death.
‘While it was previously thought to only be a concern for long-distance athletes, it is believed many athletes are actually dangerously over-drinking during events such as 10K races and even yoga classes.
Because the demands on the body are always differing from person to person, there is no exact rule of thumb for everyone. Its basically a case of listening to your body, keeping an eye out for symptoms of dehydration or over dehydration, monitoring urine colour, and simplest of all, your own thirst.
So try to keep in the ‘sweet spot’ and you will feel more energised and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.