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Oct 18

ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

Are you drinking enough water?

It is recommended that we should all be drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, but in reality the amount of fluid we need depends on many factors and is different for everyone. These factors include your lifestyle and activity levels, where you live and your general health, among many others. For the average, healthy, active male in a moderate climate the recommended intake is 3 litres and 2.2 litres for women.

There are times when more than this is required, for example, when exercising. It is important to drink before and after exercising to avoid dehydration, dizziness, fatigue and muscle cramps. At least 2 extra glasses are needed. If you are exercising for weight loss, this next tip may be of interest. A recent study has shown that people who drink 8 glasses of water a day have a higher metabolism that those who drink only 4 glasses. It is also good to drink cold water as the body uses calories bringing it up to body temperature.

It is also important to drink extra water if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Pregnant women should be drinking 2.3 litres and those who are breast-feeding should be drinking 3.1 litres a day.

Drinking water is not the only way we get fluid into our bodies. On average, 20% of our water intake comes from our food and other beverages such as tea or fruit juice. Equally, there are some things that should be consumed in moderation as they are diuretics and therefore dehydrate us. These include alcohol, sugar and caffeine.

Whilst it is possible to drink too much water, this is very rare and occurs mainly in long-distance athletes.

A good way to monitor whether your fluid intake is adequate for your body is to check your urine. It should be pale yellow in colour and you should produce approximately 1.5 litres a day (although this is a little tricky to measure!). You should be aiming to rarely feel thirsty. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.