Drinking water is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. You need water for your body to function properly. However, most people are not drinking enough water on a daily basis.
Sure, it’s hard to stay on top of your water intake sometimes. Busy lives often convince us to push something as small as drinking water to the back of our priorities.
But if you wait until you feel thirsty to drink water, you’re probably already dehydrated. Drink water regularly throughout each day to avoid dehydration. I’ll also show you how to tell if you’re not drinking enough water in this article, so you can correct the small problem before it leads to huge issues.
Why Water is Essential for Life
Water is a necessity, an essential nutrient in our diet. We need to drink to survive and stay healthy because every cell and every organ requires water. Without it, we wouldn’t survive.
According to experts, the only thing humans need more than water is oxygen. We have a body that’s two-thirds water. People can last two months without eating but won’t make it more than a couple of days without drinking water.
Throughout all stages of life and development, water is essential. Water helps us:
Flush toxins and waste
Regulate body temperature
Carry nutrients from and to each cell
Lubricate body tissues
Produce saliva, sweat, and mucous
Cushion joints from impact
Protect vital organs and tissues
Maintain a healthy body weight
It’s crucial in everything we do, all day long. Water fuels nearly all body functions each day.
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?
So, how much water is enough? If you think the answer is eight glasses each day, you’re mistaken.
The 8×8 rule is common today (where you drink 8 ounces of water, 8 times per day), but it’s not quite accurate.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Everyone is different. Each person requires a different level of water, which is based highly on body size, gender, and activity level. How much you sweat on an average day, for example, is a huge factor.
A doctor or registered dietitian can help you determine your personal water needs. However, you can also do some self-experimentation.
Track your water intake using a water calculator/phone app, planner, or journal. Some fitness pros choose to track their daily food intake as well as water in food journals.
Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
One of the easiest ways to tell if you’re drinking enough water (or to drink more water each day) is to understand your body. Keep a lookout for these warning signs of dehydration in adults:
1. Cramps and Muscle Spasms
Muscle cramps or spasms begin when the body is low in electrolytes, particularly magnesium and sodium chloride. It’s common in athletes or people who work out. If you sweat and fail to replenish your body’s water level, cramps and spasms take place.
2. Dark Yellow Urine or Constipation
To expel your body’s waste, whether number one or two calls, you need water. Liquid pushes waste out of the body and keeps you nourished. If your urine is an unusually dark color or you’re having trouble expelling waste, you may need more water.
3. Mental Fog and Trouble Concentrating
When your brain consists of three-fourths water, a lack of liquid can cause difficulties concentrating and performing basic tasks. Dehydration makes you feel sluggish and slow. You may have trouble thinking, reasoning, or problem solving.
4. Fatigue and a Cranky Mood
Even mild dehydration completely drains your energy and leaves you feeling tired. A lack of water can also cause your metabolism to shut down, which leaves you feeling like you need to catch some serious zzz’s.
Usually caused by low blood pressure, dizziness from dehydration takes place when the blood is not properly thinned. As your circulation moves more slowly throughout your entire body, you feel dizzy.
When dehydration headaches kick in, the blood is no longer thinned enough to allow oxygen to the brain. Instead of reaching for painkillers, grab a nice glass of water to cure your throbbing head.
7. Thirst and Dry Mouth
Probably the most obvious sign of dehydration, thirst or dry mouth is your body’s first sign that you need to drink water. Think of thirst as a ‘watering-time’ alarm. If your mouth feels like the Sahara desert is living inside, take a drink.
8. Dry Eyes
Not drinking enough water affects all areas that require moisture, like your eyes. Dry, bloodshot eyes may appear when you’re dehydrated because the tear ducts begin to dry up. You may even have trouble crying when the time is right. If you wear contacts, this could cause added harm if you’re not careful.
9. Cracked Lips and Dry Skin
As the body dries out, it conserves what little water reserves it does have for your vital organs. This means your lips and skin receive moisture only after the most important pieces of the body drink first, which is why they begin to dry out first.
10. Joint Pain
Photo by Imani Clovis on Unsplash
Because your cartilage and spinal discs are made up of 80% water, dehydration leads to some seriously surprising joint pain. For me, the pain starts in my knee (a bad knee from a previous injury) and extends to my ankle when I haven’t had enough to drink. Water lubricates the joints and cushions the impact of your movements.
The Signs of Dehydration in Kids
Remember, the list above encompasses the main signs of dehydration in adults only. Children may show varying symptoms.
They’re also a greater risk of dehydration than their older counterparts, particularly on hot summer days. Dehydration is all about body size and outside conditions. So, keep in mind that the signs of dehydration in babies may vary from the signs of dehydration in toddlers too.
Are You Still Struggling to Guzzle Down Enough Water?
Learning how to drink more water takes trial and error. Figure out what works best for you.
If you have a difficult time making sure you drink enough water each day (whether you choose to count your intake by glasses or liquid ounces), add fruit. Try lemons, limes, or berries. Switch up the boring monotony of plain water by including your favorites. It’s an easy and healthy way to add flavor.
I personally love this tactic in the summer. I freeze berries or grapes, using them in my water rather than ice cubes. The process takes a bit longer, but it helps me boost the cold and flavor with ease.
Many other people swear by carrying a reusable water bottle. It helps you track your daily water intake, reduces plastic bottle waste, and boosts how much water you drink. If you always have water on hand nearby, there are fewer excuses or opportunities to make an unhealthy choice.
How will you work on drinking more water each day? Let me know your plan in the comments below.