You know that “drink eight glasses of water a day” rule?
Turns out it’s probably not the best basis for measuring proper hydration.
Why? Because adequate hydration is dependent on many different factors, like your size, activity levels and sweat rate to name a few examples.
According to Andy Blow, co-founder and Sports Scientist at Precision Hydration and a Red Bull High Performance partner, the range of potential fluid requirements amongst people is “huge.”
In other words, everyone has different hydration needs, but with the approach of summer and a (hopefully inevitable) increase in participation of outdoor activities that leave us tired and sweaty, it’s important to keep the importance of staying hydrated in mind.
Here’s how you can make sure you’re taking in enough fluids both on a regular basis and while you’re working out or taking part in your favorite sports and activities.
- In general, drink according to your thirst and make sure that most of your fluid intake is coming from water.
- The best indicator of your hydration is your urine. Someone who is well-hydrated will produce clear or light-colored urine. Dark-colored urine is a sign of dehydration.
- When you’re exercising or participating in strenuous activities, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Hydrate adequately beforehand by consuming one to three cups of water and replenish fluids regularly during physical activity.
- Note: other signs of dehydration include dry mouth, sleepiness, decreased urine output, dry skin, inability to produce tears, headache, constipation, dizziness or lightheadedness and of course, extreme thirst.
- Keep in mind that over-hydrating is actually a more common problem than dehydration, especially among athletes. Blow said you can increase your risk for over-hydrating by consuming excessive amounts of low-sodium fluids over the course of several hours, which dilutes the levels of sodium in your blood and can lead to hyponatremia—a potentially deadly condition that causes the brain to swell as a result of absorbing excess fluid from the blood.