Listen to your body, if you get thirsty during exercise, by all means, drink. If you are not thirsty, don’t drink.
–Dr. Thomas Lyth
Do you have bad conscience about drinking water? Do you think you’re not drinking enough?
I noticed that many of my patients always carry a bottle of water with them to the clinic, and that made me start thinking when I came across some articles about the problem with too much intake of water.
You probably heard that you should be drinking 8 glasses of water per day, or if you drink coffee you should drink extra water with it, or to stay beautiful you should drink plenty of water or most dehydration leads to cramps.
What is a fact is that a mild dehydration can affect the ability to perform when you are a professional athlete but has no meaning for the public in general. People have a pathological fear of becoming dehydrated but the truth is that no one ever died in dehydration in athletic events. Having a mild dehydration is normal and not dangerous.
Listen to your body, if you get thirsty during exercise, by all means, drink. If you are not thirsty, don’t drink. This is the advice recommended for normal healthy people. We should know how much fluid intake we should have and not add extra “just to be on the safe side.” There are three situations when this is not applied: 1) healthy elderly persons do not have the same sense of thirst as younger people, 2) very small children have to be “persuaded” to drink extra, 3) very hot climate, like Dubai in summer – if you are outdoors, do not drink just water, add electrolytes. In a normal situation, it is recommended that we should have an intake of 1½ liter fluid per day. Remember that we also get half a liter more through our food.