On a trip to Arizona a few years ago, I was told that if I wasn’t weeing once an hour that I wasn’t drinking enough. And the iced coffee I was sipping on at the time didn’t count towards my liquid intake!
We’ve all heard that we should be drinking 2 litres of water a day, but is that actually enough? It’s Summer here in the UK and it is surprisingly quite warm, whilst other areas in Europe and the US are experiencing soaring temperatures, and I’ve been glugging back more than my usual quantity of water, especially on the days when I workout.
It got me thinking, is two litres of water enough for those of us that are very active?
I typically drink at least half a litre in a 45-60min workout, more when it’s really tough or sweaty. Given that you should start the workout hydrated, and rehydrate after too, should we be drinking more than the recommended amount?
When researching this post, I found a few people trying an experiment to see what difference it would make to drink 3 litres a day, and the effects were great. Clearer skin, more energy, hydrates cells throughout the body and improve digestion. Not only that but it improves kidney function, brighter eyes and can help with weight loss.
Factors such as climate, pregnancy and breastfeeding, health, and activity level affect the amount of water you should be drinking.
Not everyone requires the same intake of water/liquid daily, and it’s about getting your own body’s mechanics right. If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already slightly dehydrated, so make sure you’re drinking regularly. And if you’re particularly sweaty, you’re probably going to need to rehydrate more than non-active, non-sweaty people!
I also learnt more about the types of filtration processes to drink quality water, including bottles, natural filters and the new product from Kangen that anti-oxidises your tap water.
Try this fun water drinking calculator to establish your needs!
Obviously the downside that everyone mentioned was needing to find a bathroom more regularly…
Some of the best ways to increase your water intake are:
- Carry a water bottle with you- in your handbag, car, gym bag, at your desk and drink regularly. It’s far easier than trying to neck a pint of water as you wake up.
- Flavour your water with fresh mint, cucumber, lemon, lime or berries. These add taste without any extra sugar or calories.
- You could also make fun ice-cubes with fruits in for added freshness (I recently learned that you can freeze ready sliced lemon, lime and orange to add to G&Ts but it will work just as well with water!)
- Drink water with your meals, rather than reaching for a fizzy drink with lunch or a glass of wine with dinner. It will help cut calories and sugar as well as keeping you hydrated. I use my soda stream all the time to make sparkling water to enjoy with dinner.
- Runners/cyclists/hikers – try using a hydration pack like a Nathan or Camelbak for easy hydration on the go. I use mine for long runs to sip little and often as I run without the annoyance of carrying a water bottle.
- Switch to herbal teas rather than coffee or English Breakfast – without the added calories from milk and sugar, these decaf hot drinks make a great alternative to your 4pm cuppa.
- Filter your water – this produces a delicious fresh taste without any of the hardness you find in cities or the pollutants in tap water. Although it’s safe to drink, did you know that health experts are concerned by the levels of prescription drug and other medication waste in the water as water treatment plants aren’t currently set up to remove pharmaceuticals. (Read study here and here.) You can use charcoal, a water filter bottle/jug, or there’s a product on the market called Kangen that anti oxidizes your tap water to produce ionized alkaline and acidic water through electrolysis for drinking, cooking, cleaning etc without losing any of the naturally occurring minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. A number of sports stars are also using it to stimulate performance, including Tiger Woods, the US Olympic ski team, and the Yankees, not to mention plenty of NFL teams too. They use the alkaline Kangen water for its reported benefits in performance, stamina, and muscle recovery, and hydration, obvs.
How much water do you drink a day? Out here in Utah there are signs all over the National Parks reminding people to bring plenty of water with them out on the trails, and to drink 4 litres of water throughout the day. We even had an email reminder to hydrate sufficiently before our bike ride on Thursday (more on that to come!)
Hi Charlie, I think the answer to your question is clearly “No”!
A good gauge is to look at the colour of your pee – should be clear or very light yellow. Obviously yellow or orange shows you need more water.
I suggest any water involved immediately before, during, and after exercise is not included in the 2 litre target. Most or all will be sweated out.
Hope your training is going well
It blows my mind how little water so many people drink especially at work. I think the biggest change I have done is carry my Hydroflask with m at all times and also switch to tea over coffee to make sure I am always getting that H2O in!
I totally remember while in Utah and Arizona this summer how many dehydration cases I saw especially when climbing down into the Grand Canyon. People dont realize how much they sweat out in a day and that by the time you are thirsty in an intense activity like hiking, you are already dehydrated and in the danger zone.
Water on water on water is the way to go!