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by heather marr

We've all heard the standard "drink 8 glasses of water a day" is important to follow, but the reality is the hydration rule isn’t black and white. The amount of water we need to be drinking each day depends on many factors including diet, age, sex, exercise, and even where you live. Aiming to reach this magical number doesn't make much sense when our body's hydration needs fluctuate day to day thanks to these factors.

How Do We Know If We Are Drinking Enough Water?

Pay attention to your body and check your urine. If your urine is dark or has a strong odor, you likely need to increase your water intake, whereas if your urine is a light-yellow color, you're likely on track with hitting your hydration goals. (Always check with your physician if anything is out of the ordinary.)

 RELATED: How Much Hydration Do You Need for Your Workouts?

Another great tool to determine hydration is, of course, thirst. By the time we are thirsty, we may already be dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration to watch out for include dizziness, fainting, increased hunger, muscle cramps, and decreased sweat. 

Getting enough to drink is especially important for athletes. When dehydrated, workout performance and endurance suffer. Luckily, calculating your sweat rate is easy to do. Just follow the below equation to find your sweat rate.

Sweat Rate = (A+B)/C

A= Pre-exercise body weight - post-exercise body weight (in ounces)

B= Fluid consumed during exercise (in ounces)

C= Time exercising (in hours)

how much water should i drink

How Can We Increase Our Daily Water Intake?

I drink approximately 4-5 liters of water a day and here are some of the easy ways I make sure to stay hydrated.

  1. I keep a large bottle of water beside my bed. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I usually drink 500mL before my feet even hit the ground. This is an easy one for most people. After sleeping 8 hours, waking up thirsty is usually a given.
  2. I drink 500mL of water before each and every meal. This has the added bonus of keeping your appetite in check for many people.
  3. During my workouts, I always have my 750mL water bottle with me. Depending on what I'm training and how long I'm training that day, I’ll often have two of those bottles of water. If you have your water with you at the gym [Editor note: We recommend packing hydrating Vital Proteins Collagen Water in your gym bag], you're going to be drinking more than you would if you visit the water fountain.
  4. Post-workout, I always have my 500ml bottle of a sports beverage that contains electrolytes and zero sugar. Sports beverages like this can be a great option but you need to check the labels and see what you're getting. Many recreational athletes are in the gym trying to lose weight and not realizing that their sports drink is loaded with sugar, calories, and carbs.
  5. Keep water with you at work. I always have a bottle on my desk and by the end of the day it's empty. If it's not there, you won’t drink it. Keep one at your desk and finish it by the end of each workday.

Is It Possible to Drink Too Much Water?

Yes, it is possible to drink too much water. Health conditions – like hyponatremia – occur when the concentration of sodium in the blood is too low. As a result of this the amount of water in the body increases, which causes cells to swell. Hiring a knowledgeable trainer or coach before endurance events can certainly help to avoid these issues before they even happen.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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