How to hydrate your body correctly

Optimum amounts of fluids, effects on dieting and heuristics for your everyday life.

· 4 minutes read

The vast majority of people in our society are chronically dehydrated nowadays. Chances are high that you are impacted by this, too. In this post, I'll try to summarize why this actually matters a lot and what you can expect from solving the problem.

immediate effects of dehydration

The list of possible symptoms includes:

  • headaches and concentration issues, which also might increase your stress levels when work is piling up, introduces even more issues
  • tiredness and fatigue, a powerful way to kill your general discipline in all life areas
  • muscle weakness and cramping, preventing strength gains

and many more issues. If you want a sharp mind and a fully functioning body, getting enough fluids should be a top priority.

Aside from these impactful direct issues (you will notice headaches or cramps immediately!), there are even more problems caused by dehydration:

how much you should drink

I am making this easy here by recommending easy-to-remember numbers:

  • 2 liters per day as the baseline.
  • +1 liter if you are male.
  • +1 liter if you are fasting (no fluid intake from foods).
  • +1 liter per hour of moderate sweating (non-athletic exercise, heat).

If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated! It doesn't help to gulp multiple bottles of water at once, since the body usually can only absorb up to 0.5 liters per hour. Also it takes at least 10 minutes until meaningful amounts of the gulped water reach your bloodstream and ease dehydration symptoms.

Therefore, make sure that you are drinking appropriate amounts scattered throughout your day, and not in big chunks after many hours (this doesn't work).

how to check hydration state

These quick checks are good indicators for proper hydration levels:

  1. Not being thirsty, not even a little.
  2. You are peeing multiple times per day.
  3. Your pee has no (or next to no) color.

what to drink

Not strictly linked to hydration, but the most important advice I can give is:

Don't drink calories!

Between Latte Macchiatos, Sodas, Smoothies and Juices, it is very easy to accumulate hundreds (!) of calories every day, which won't make you satiated, at all. Even if you are not on a diet, this easily can translate into being able to eat an additional full meal every day when drinking water instead.

So, ideally drink these instead:

  • Water. Best-in-Slot option available.
  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea for additional energy.
  • "zero"-sodas against the occasional cravings, at least they don't have calories.
  • Broth (powder/cubes + hot water) for when you need salt.

If you also want to scratch your environmental itch, try to use things based on tap water instead of buying bottles. Personally I can recommend products like dropz to keep water tasty and varied.