You may be drinking water, but are you drinking enough of it? Water is essential to keeping your body functioning and feeling healthy. Nearly every major system of your body depends on water to survive, which is why even mild dehydration can have unpleasant effects. Proper hydration is also a key factor in weight control.
How Much Water Do I Need?
Recommendations for water intake vary, but everyone’s hydration needs are different and based on factors such as activity level, pregnancy, environment and overall health. As a general guideline, the U.S National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine determined that an adequate water intake is:
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids daily for women
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids daily for men
However, other sources will tell you that you should be drinking about 2/3 of your body wait to stay properly hydrated, and even this rule of thumb is dependent on other factors such as age, gender, health conditions and more.
Signs of Dehydration
Intake recommendations aside, here are some of the most common signs that you may not be getting enough water throughout the day.
- Severe Headaches – You may be feeling a pulsating ache on both sides of your head, in the back, or just on one side.
- Dizziness/Lightheadedness – These feelings often accompany a dehydration headache and can also lead to nausea.
- Low Energy – Fatigue can be a sign that your body is craving water, which might be due to reduced blood circulation. Having low energy can hinder productivity and lower your activity level.
- Brain Fog – Dehydration can make it hard to concentrate and remember things and may also make you feel a little disoriented.
- Bathroom Issues – Dark urine (a deep gold color or darker) and constipation are common symptoms of dehydration.
- Unwelcome Cravings – Dehydration can make you more likely to reach for foods that are high in sugar, salt and carbs.
- Muscle Cramps and Joint Pain – Dehydration can cause inflammation and soreness in your muscles. Similarly, joints require water to stay lubricated and absorb the shock of movement.
For tips on creative ways to drink more water, click here for a previous blog post.