Singapore’s humid and sunny weather can be taxing on the body, especially outdoors. The simple solution is to keep ourselves hydrated. Is keeping a handy water bottle enough? How will you determine whether you’ve had enough water? Is there a rule on how much water your body should take in a day? We separate the myths from facts.
- You should only drink water when thirsty. Don’t wait to feel thirsty before you drink water. Thirst is a sign of dehydration; it could be that your body needs water even if you don’t exactly feel thirsty—that is, you’re still within an acceptable level of hydration. The best way to determine if you’re taking in the right amount of water is by making sure you never feel thirsty in a day.
- “I don’t feel thirsty, so I’m okay.” Some people don’t have a good thirst indicator, so a lack of thirst does not mean your fluid intake is adequate. So if thirst can’t be a reliable indicator, what then? Your urine. The color should be light yellow or clear. A dark color mean that you don’t have enough water or you may have an underlying health condition.
- Coffee and tea won’t do anything for your thirst. Coffee and tea, just as any other drinks, also contain water. They should count for your water intake as long as you also keep track of other things in your food and drinks such as the amount of sugar and salt.
- Sports drinks are for athletes. Sports drinks were designed to replenish the body with the nutrients it loses when doing physical activities. Sweating lowers the nutrient levels in your body, as the nutrients seep out as you sweat. There’s no harm in opting for a sports drink after an exercise.
- Always drink eight glasses of water a day. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water is not the standard for everyone. Factors such as weight, age, metabolism, food intake, lifestyle and any physical activities you’ve performed are other factors that should tell you whether you need to drink more, or less.
- Lose weight when you drink water before meals. Well, it does not work that way. Water does not need to be digested like regular food. If you want to feel full without eating too much, eat fruits and vegetables. They have water that can satisfy both hunger and thirst.
- Dehydration is impossible while swimming. Swimming is still a physical activity, so yes, you will still get dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water while you’re in the water. The water your body needs won’t be absorbed through your pores so dipping in a pool would just keep your skin from drying, but your body’s hydration level may still be low.
- Too much water is fine because it’s water. Actually, drinking too much is as bad as drinking too little. It’s bad for your kidneys and will dissolve key nutrients and salt in your blood. Don’t drink more than 4 glasses of water in an hour to be safe.