Did you know that feeling thirsty is not a good indicator of how much water you need? It’s true.
By the time you feel thirsty, the cycle of dehydration has already begun.
Most people do not drink enough water as is, and the majority of fluids they do consume have sugar, caffeine or a combination of both in them, ingredients that actually speed dehydration.
There is also some question about the value of using sports drinks, most of which are loaded with sugar.
When it comes to hydration, the best answer is still the simplest: water.
Are bottled waters better than simple tap water? Not necessarily. Bottled waters sometimes have added minerals, but mostly, bottled water just has better marketing than ordinary tap water.
Dehydration is biochemical and water is water. If you want to improve the taste of your water, try it ice cold, or use a home based water filtration system before dumping additives in.
Now as to amounts, this can vary greatly from person to person, depending on body size and fitness level. A good general indicator is your urine, or the color of your urine to be exact.
Pale or clear can be taken to mean adequate water. Yellow, dark yellow or even orange means too little water. (Some vitamin supplements, vitamin C particularly, and medications can discolor your urine. We’re referring to the color of your urine when unaffected by excess vitamins or medications.)
But for the serious athlete or dedicated amateur doing intense work, there is another way. Get out the scale and the calculator for this one. Weigh yourself before exercise and then right after. Subtract the two numbers and then figure what percentage of your starting weight that number is.
If the loss is 3% or less, don’t change your hydration or exercise. If between 3% and 6%, re-hydrate and lighten up on the intensity. 7% or more, go to the emergency room before you pass out.