Here's how much water should you consume each day
A practical guide to keeping hydrated so you can feel great, think clearly, and perform at your best
A 0.5% drop in your total body water leads to a greater strain on your heart
A 1% loss reduces your aerobic endurance
At 3%, your muscular endurance decreases
At 4% your strength drops, motor skills worsen, and heat cramps can occur
With a 5% loss, mental capacity becomes impaired and fatigue sets in
Anywhere between 10-20% loss means death.
The tough thing is that you don’t really notice thirst until there has been abut a 1-2% drop in your total body water.
By this point your performance has already suffered.
That means you need to stay on top of your hydration strategy before it’s too late.
How can you practically do this as to make it a habit?
Focus on the practices that stand to make the biggest difference for you
When it comes to hydration it’s tempting to stray from the basics. There are plenty of supplements and powders being marketed as the ultimate hydration boosters.
What you actually need:
consistent water intake
enough fruits and vegetables
adjusting water needs based on activity levels
What you (probably) don’t need:
drinking Gatorade when you don’t move much
well-branded and marketed electrolyte supplements
sports gels, pills, and soluble tablets
The latter examples do help in certain scenarios.
ie., if you’re a high-level athlete training competitively, or are exercising for long periods of time, at a high-intensity, multiple times per day/week, in environments that cause you to sweat a lot.
If you’re simply exercising to achieve well-rounded health, body composition, and performance goals, save the money.
Follow the basics and you’ll be well on your way.
Practices to help you keep hydrated
Integrate a few of these tips into your daily life to help keep hydrated
Aim for at least 2 litres (8 cups) of water per day, in addition to whole foods which are high in water content. You know, fruits and veggies ;)
Focus on how you feel throughout the day as you drink more water. It’s completely possible that you’re already well hydrated, and consuming extra water isn’t necessary.
Get a one litre bottle and fill it with water. Drink throughout the day. Your goal is to drink two of them.
Drink water with every meal
Fill a bottle with water and leave it on your nightstand so you can drink when you wake up
Eat at least 2 servings of fruit each day
Eat at least 3 fist-sized servings of vegetables each day
Consider testing your tap water for impurities, or use a filter of some sort just to be safe.
If exercising less than 60 minutes, or doing activity that is low-to moderate intensity, consuming plain ‘ol water is just fine. Aim for 1-4 cups of water during physical activity and after.
If exercising longer than 60 minutes, or doing activity that is intense, and causing you to sweat, you may need to incorporate an electrolyte, amino acids, and/or carb-protein blend drink.
Drink some water whenever you’re thirsty, plus a little bit more. A helpful little cue to stay on top of your water consumption target especially when you’re busy. Just be sure not to guzzle it down and over-consume too much. Drink mindfully!
Add citrus or herbs such as mint to your water to make it more satisfying. Lemons and mint in my water? Uh, yes please.
Add in decaf herbal tea as a great substitute for a late-night snack
Limit alcohol consumption as this leads to decreased hydration
Coffee consumption is actually probably okay as your body adapts and will not cause a pronounced loss of water. Now, this doesn’t mean you get to drink too much coffee, especially later into the day, along with adding too many creamers and sugar. Aim to keep your caffeine intake in the morning, or early afternoon (1-2 p.m.) at the latest.
There’s no need to drop a ton of money on expensive supplements or follow some ridiculous hydration protocol.
Follow basic practices the fit your lifestyle, do them well, and do them often.
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