Have you ever wondered why we're constantly reminded to stay hydrated, even when we don't feel particularly thirsty? It all boils down to the fact that our bodies continuously lose water through processes like sweating and urination. Water also plays a crucial role in various vital bodily functions, such as flushing out bacteria, aiding digestion, transporting nutrients to our cells, preventing constipation, and maintaining the delicate balance of electrolytes (especially sodium). So, it's obvious that we need to replenish the lost fluids by drinking plenty of water, but how much?
Also Read: 8 Most Hydrating Drinks Besides Water
How Much Water Should You Drink Daily?
The "eight-glass water rule" has been a popular guideline in the health and fitness world for some time. This rule suggests that we should aim to drink eight glasses of water a day. But here's the catch: this rule isn't one-size-fits-all. The ideal amount of water you need can depend on several factors, including your lifestyle, gender, age, activity level, and other factors.
The Eight-Glass Water Rule: A Starting Point
While the eight-glass rule is a decent starting point, your water needs are unique to you, so it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional to determine your precise requirements. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, work in an air-conditioned environment, and don't sweat much, consuming two to two and a half litres of water daily should suffice. Drinking more than this can lead to over-hydration.
Expert Insights on Water Intake
Nutritionist Dr Anju Sood recommends a daily intake of 2.5 litres to replenish water loss effectively. She emphasises that dehydration can lead to issues like severe headaches and mood swings, even when people don't drink enough water. However, individuals with high activity levels, such as athletes or those engaged in intense workouts, may require more water due to increased water loss through sweating.
Consultant nutritionist Dr Rupali Datta suggests that the eight-glass rule, or even just four glasses in the morning, lacks a strong scientific basis. Instead, she recommends a guideline of 35 ml of water per kilogram of body weight. The primary goal is to stay adequately hydrated at all times, which becomes even more critical during the hot summer months.
Also Read: 7 Delicious Drinks To Help You Stay Hydrated
When To Drink Water for Maximum Benefits
Morning Hydration: Drinking water in the morning after waking up helps activate your internal organs and prepare your body for the day ahead.
Post-Workout: After exercising, hydrating helps regulate your heart rate and aids in recovery.
Before Meals: Consuming water about half an hour before a meal can improve digestion and prevent overeating.
After Meals: The same rule applies. Ideally, you should give your body a time of half an hour to digest the food eaten, and then consume water.
Time Of The Day: The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad suggests drinking the most water during the hottest part of the day, i.e. from mid-morning to early evening.
Health Issues: Your body gives you cues to let you know it needs water. One is, the colour of urine, dark yellow colour may indicate dehydration. Dry chapped lips are one of the indicators of a dehydrated body. Try to drink more water under these circumstances.
When Feeling Unwell: Proper hydration is crucial when you're sick to support your body's functioning and recovery.
When Feeling Fatigued: Drinking water when tired can help re-energise your system and provide a much-needed boost.
Also Read: Why You Shouldn't Drink Water Immediately After Meals
How To Drink Water:
1. Sit Down to Drink
suggests drinking water while sitting. Drinking water while standing can throw away the balance of bodily fluids. If you sit and drink, your muscles are more relaxed to reap the benefits in a better way.
2. Avoid Gulping It Down
Ayurvedic expert, Dr. Akhilesh Sharma warns against gulping down large volumes of water in a single breath. It is better to sip on the water slowly while breathing normally.
3. Room Temperature Over Chilled Water
Icy chilled water is not great for digestion. Instead have room temperature or moderately cold water during hot days. According to Dr Akhilesh, warm water is even better as it helps in regulating cholesterol levels.
Water is indeed essential for our survival. Don't ignore and hydrate yourself the right way.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)
About Neha GroverLove for reading roused her writing instincts. Neha is guilty of having a deep-set fixation with anything caffeinated. When she is not pouring out her nest of thoughts onto the screen, you can see her reading while sipping on coffee.