Drink water, drink water, drink water. We have that command drilled into us from every direction. That we need to drink plenty of water to stay healthy, to help us sleep, for better skin, to lose weight and of course, to stay hydrated.
But how much water should you truly drink? Is it as simple as measuring out the same amount per person? Then one last very important question… can you drink too much water?
In short, yes. You can drink too much water for your body to handle. In very extreme cases you can actually drink so much water that it can kill you.
So, How Much Is Too Much?
Don’t panic; you need to drink a seriously large amount of water for it to be so much that you die. But it can happen.
It occurs when the minerals in your blood become diluted from your kidneys not being able to remove excess water. Because of this, your sodium levels become dangerously low, causing a condition called hyponatremia. In extreme cases, hyponatremia can lead to death.
How Much Water Should I Really Drink?
The human body is made up of more than 50% water. Throughout the day, you constantly lose fluids through sweat and urine. You need to replace those fluids back into your body to keep it running at optimum efficiency.
But how much should you be putting back in? The answer varies from person to person depending on your size and the amount of physical activity you do.
Research indicates that the average human needs to drink between 2.7 (for females) and 3.7 (for males) litres per day. Yep, that does sound like quite a lot! The good news is that you don’t have to throw back 15 glasses of water at breakfast time. That amount is the total amount of liquid that your body needs, so it comes from all beverages and foods consumed in a day.
There is no exact science to how much water your individual body needs. But if you are feeling thirsty, or your urine is a deep yellow colour, then you need to drink more fluids.
How Can I Make Up My Daily Intake?
Of course, clean, fresh, natural calorie-free water is the best option when choosing a beverage. But sometimes you are just dying for a coffee or a glass of fruit juice. While you should drink those beverages in moderation, they can make up some of your daily intake because they do in fact contain water.
Foods like lettuce, watermelon, broccoli, milk, yoghurt, carrot and apple are all high in water content. It is thought that you get around 20% of your daily water intake from food. So keep that in mind when you are keeping tabs on your water intake.
When Do I Need More Or Less?
Clearly, a personal trainer is going to need to drink more water in a day than a desk-bound office worker, purely for the fact that they are more active.
Size and the level of physical activity definitely come into play when you are predicting your water allocation. Also if you are suffering from a medical condition or are suddenly unwell with vomiting, diarrhoea, or similar symptoms - you are going to need to up the fluid intake.
Also, do not underestimate the temperature. A hot day can definitely increase your need for more fluids as you will be sweating more.
How To Know If You Are Drinking Too Much… Water
Don’t get obsessive about the amount of water that you need to drink in a day. It is not recommended to force down 10 glasses when you first wake up to get a jump start on your intake. Instead, spread it across the day and remember that you are getting fluids from other sources as well.
The best way to regulate your water intake is to drink when you are thirsty. Also, if you are prone to getting caught up in an activity, have a glass of water or a water bottle nearby to keep you topped up.
If you begin to feel pain or discomfort when you are drinking water, then stop. If you are replacing meals with water, then stop. Only you can decide the right amount of water for your body. Take note of the signs your body gives you for when to speed up or slow down your water intake.
As always, if you have any concerns then consult a medical professional.