When thirst kicks in, our bodies are telling us that we are low on water, and we need water for a variety of functions in the body, such as:
- Keeping electrolytes levels in balance
- Providing cells with nutrients and oxygen
- Removing body waste and bacteria from the bladder
- Improve digestion
- Protect joints, organs and body tissue
- Keep our temperature in check
Just to name a few…
So while drinking water might on the surface simply to be quench a thirst, we are actually providing our body with the means of completing all these functions, and this is what is means to be hydrated. We can tell how hydrated we are by the colour of our urine using this diagram, taken from BUPA health:
If you find that you are prone to sweating through simple physical activities, if you live in a hotter climate, or are reading this right now during summer, it makes sense to say that you should replenish the fluids that you will lose more easily by default. Harvard Health Publishing says in this article that 4 to 6 cups of water a day is a general guideline, but use your judgement and try not to forget about drinking water through the day.
For those who exercise, staying hydrated is particularly important to ensure your performance does not decline. Drinking water helps prevent a rise in temperature during exercise, and can help stop us cramping up too, as well for the obvious reasons of replacing the fluids lost during exercise.
In some cases however, you may be drinking too much water. If you are on a particular medication or you deal with certain health conditions related to liver, kidney, heart or thyroid, there may be a strict limit to how much water you can drink, so be sure to check with your doctor and get straight on that.