At some point in time, we’ve all been encouraged by someone concerned for our health – maybe it was a parent, a doctor, or a friend or spouse to make sure we are hydrated. What’s the big deal? In the past, my answer has been, “But if I drink more, then I have to go to the bathroom all the time.” It turns out that more trips to the bathroom might not be such a bad thing.
The tissues that make up our bodies are approximately 70% water. They use all that H2O to create substances essential for life, remove waste products, and contribute to making the energy we need to live. So being adequately hydrated is the state of having the ideal amount of water in our bodies to carry out all these processes necessary for our life and good health.
When we are not adequately hydrated, we may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Mental fogginess or confusion
- Low energy or sluggishness
- Dry skin
- Respiratory congestion
- Swelling in hands and feet
So how to fix this? The rule of thumb I like to use is this. Drink the number of ounces of water that equals half the number of your weight. So, for example, if you weigh 150lbs, then you should drink 75 ounces of water.
But that’s a lot, you say?! So here’s how to spread it out through your day.
- Drink 8 – 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning
- Then 8 ounces every 1 to 2 hours during your day
You’ll know you’re hydrated when you go to the bathroom, and your urine is very light yellow or clear.
Many people don’t like having to go to the bathroom often. Still, the benefits of hydration should overshadow the minor inconvenience. An average healthy adult urinates between four and ten times in 24 hours, so long as you’re within that range, you should be okay.
That being said, there’s a mildly disturbing trend among some people trying to lose weight of drinking up to a gallon of water a day! That’s 128 ounces of water, people! Unless you weigh 256 pounds, STOP THAT! Drinking too much water can lower your sodium levels and cause severe problems of its own – even as severe as a coma.
So like anything else, hydrate in moderation.