How much should I drink in a day?
How much water should I be getting daily? This is a common health related question and a key to good health. Hydration guidelines are often tricky to understand and vary from source to source. Standardized recommendation for intake is more accurate when looking at demands of individuals, overall health, and many other physiological variables. This means the suggested 1 ounce for every pound of body weight a guideline and depending on activity level, could potentially be harmful though is a good guideline if you have nothing else to go on.
If you are sick either with something acute or chronic, you should increase the amount of fluids and electrolytes you intake greatly. Think back to when you were a kid, not feeling well, and someone made you chicken noodle soup. This helped boost your health by getting you much need fluids and nutrients with it.
During exercise, drink when you are thirsty and don’t drink as much fluid as you can tolerate.1 The primary reason behind this is safety, and to not water log yourself. Many sports drinks are largely hypotonic (meaning will pull fluid from your tissues), which if ingested in large amounts, can dilute plasma sodium concentrations; you won’t feel well. This includes sports drinks, which are often chosen over water with the intended goal of replacing electrolytes lost from sweating. The electrolyte in most sports drinks is largely inadequate though and will cause over drinking and a waterlogged feeling with a resulting change in blood chemistry.
Thirst is not your best indicator of hydration. Humans only replace up to 70% of fluid losses if we drink until we are no longer thirsty.2 While acceptable during exercise, it can pose issues with overall recovery following activity as well as normal hydration. (Think maintaining your intervertebral disc health) You should monitor your body weight and continue to drink following activity in amounts that bring you back to your pre-activity weight.1 Basically you should know your baseline body weight and aim to keep that steady. In addition to fluids, replacing electrolytes is important, but more in the recovery than active phase.
Being a lot to take in (both reading and fluids), always consult with someone if in doubt as to what your health status should be in-taking.
As always, stop by with questions!
Gaul Family Chiropractic
1. Hew-Butler T, et al. Statement of the third international exercise-associated hyponatremia consensus development conference, Carlsbad, California, 2015. Clin J Sport Med. 2015;25(4):303-320.
2. Nose H, Mack GW, Shi X, Nadel ER. Role of osmolality and plasma volume during rehydration in humans. J Appl Physiol. 1988;65(1):325-331.