How much water do I need?
Adults need to drink around 1.5–2 litres of fluid a day. A typical mug or glass is about 200 millilitres (ml) so this equates to 8-10 drinks a day. Children need slightly less and should aim for around 6-8 drinks a day, but once they reach teenage years their requirements are similar to adults. Don’t forget that fluid needs can vary depending on various factors including level of physical activity and climate, so it is best to remember to drink regularly to keep thirst at bay. A few groups (listed in the box below) need to take particular care to make sure their fluid levels are kept topped up and these include:
Children: Often too busy to recognise the signs of thirst!
Pregnant and breastfeeding ladies: Fluid is critical for baby and breastmilk
Older people: Often don’t drink enough
Athletes: Need regular fluid top ups as they lose more through sweat
How do I know I’m drinking enough?
Simply waiting for the sensation of thirst is not a good enough sign of a need to drink – by the time we feel thirsty our body is already dehydrated and potentially suffering some of the effects. Equally, simply drinking to eliminate the feeling of thirst does not fully hydrate the body.
The best indicator of good hydration is urine colour, a pale straw coloured urine being a reliable indicator of good hydration. Darker coloured urine is a sure sign that the body needs more fluid. Getting into the habit of drinking regularly is a great way of keeping hydrated.