As I said last week, I personally think that “How do I know I am drinking enough water?” is a better question to ask than “How much water should I drink?”. Again, using the stand-by rule of 8 8-oz glasses (64 oz) as a baseline is easy to remember and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that.
Truth be told, that may not be enough water for you. It may be enough for your BFF. We are each unique. That said, how do you know you are drinking an adequate amount of water? There are several indicators you can look at…however, any one alone may not be sufficient.
- Color of your urine – When you are sufficiently hydrated, your urine should be a fairly light yellow. However, you may take medication, vitamins, or eat food that cause your urine to be darker so this may not be full-proof on its own. This WebMD article – The Truth About Urine – helps us understand different colors we may see.
- You are thirsty – Typically, they say that if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. For many this is a good sign to watch for. Ideally, you don’t want to get to the point that you are thirsty. The fact is, some people don’t get thirsty or don’t know how to recognize it. Also, as we get older, our sense of thirst diminishes.
- Headache – A headache can be a sign that you are dehydrated. It could also be a sign that you have a food sensitivity and don’t realize it so you continue to eat that food item. The challenge to figuring out you have a food sensitivity is that it can take hours, even days, to show up.
- Frequency you go to the bathroom – Well, this is an interesting sign…I’ll be the first to admit that I have a small bladder so I’m heading to the bathroom frequently. Regardless, you likely have a good idea about how many times you urinate in a day. The key is knowing how often you need to go when you are properly hydrated. I go about every hour on average when I am drinking enough water. The above WebMD article also provides us with some information about how frequently you may be visiting the bathroom.
- Pinch test – When you pinch the skin on the back of your hand, how quickly does it lay back on your hand? This can be a sign that you are not hydrated. It may be more challenging to do this test if your skin is not very elastic to start with. The infographic below – The Dehydration Pinch Test – shows you how to do the test.
- Dry lips – For me, this is definitely a sign I notice when I am not drinking enough water. Now, this can also be a sign that you have a fever. Either way, all the more reason to drink more water!
The bottom line is this – You want to pay attention to your body. You should know what is “normal” for you and notice when things are not normal. Use several of these indicators on a regular basis to assess your hydration level. For more dehydration symptoms, the below infographic – Am I Dehydrated? – gives signs of mild to moderate dehydration, as well as signs of severe dehydration.
Infographics from www.fix.com