Are You Drinking Enough Water?
By Dubuque Physical Therapy Team
June 6, 2022
Written by Ashley Wood, PT
Water is one of the six nutrients that is essential for life. While your body can survive for weeks without food, you can only survive a few days without water. Water makes up 50%-70% of your body weight and is important for all systems in your body to function properly.
If you have poor hydration…
Many people do not drink enough water every day. At a minimum, you should drink half of your body weight in ounces every day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water each day. Some of your fluid intake can be from drinks that are made primarily of water such as tea, fruit juices, sports drinks, and coffee, but most of your fluid intake should be water. If you are drinking caffeinated drinks, you can only count half the amount of that beverage (16 ounces of caffeinated coffee would count for 8 ounces of fluid intake). This is because caffeine can promote increased urination, so you will be losing some of the fluid you are taking in. Keep in mind that drinking sports drinks, fruit juices, and other sweetened drinks increases the amount of sugar you are consuming, so it is a good idea to drink these sparingly. The recommendation for daily water intake is based on your body working under normal conditions. If the weather is hot/humid or you are exercising, you will need to increase your water intake since your body will be losing more fluids through sweat.
The best way to tell if you are well hydrated is by the color of your urine. Urine should be pale yellow (like lemonade) in color to nearly colorless. If your urine is darker in color, then you need to drink more water. Being thirsty is another sign that you are dehydrated. You should be drinking water consistently throughout the day to avoid getting to the point that you feel thirsty.
Signs of dehydration include:
These can be acute signs of dehydration, but you can also be chronically dehydrated and have some of the symptoms.
Increasing your water intake to the daily recommended amount can seem like a daunting task. The first rule of thumb is not to do this all in one day, or you will spend most of your time in the bathroom. Instead, gradually increase your fluid intake by 4-8 ounces every 1-2 days to allow your body to adjust to the extra fluid. Tips for making sure you are getting enough water each day include: