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Drinking Enough Water

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How can you tell if you are drinking enough water?

The easiest way to know if you're drinking enough fluid is to look at the color of your urine. If you're drinking enough water, your urine will be clear or pale yellow. A darker yellow means you aren't drinking enough water.

People who drink enough water also usually have soft bowel movements. Hard bowel movements or constipation can be signs that you aren't getting enough water.

If you have any health problems, always talk to your doctor before increasing the amount of water you drink. You may need to limit your fluids if you have certain health concerns, such as kidney problems or heart failure.

It can be dangerous to drink too much water. But it's rare that anyone drinks too much water. The risk is highest for people who do endurance sports, such as running marathons.

Too much water is dangerous because it would dilute the amount of sodium in your body. This imbalance could cause serious problems, such as confusion, seizures, and coma.

Experts advise athletes who do intense activity to drink a sports drink that contains sodium, other electrolytes, and some sugar. Most people don't need sports drinks if they are exercising for less than an hour in moderate temperatures. Plain water is fine.

But experts do recommend sports drinks if you're playing sports or doing other intense physical activity for more than an hour.

What are some easy ways to get more water during the day?

  • Drink a glass of water when you get up in the morning, before you have coffee or tea.
  • Keep a cup or water bottle by your desk at work. Take several sips of water each hour. If you don't have a desk job, carry a container of water with you, and take sips throughout the day.
  • Take a sip whenever you pass a drinking fountain.
  • If you get tired of drinking plain water, add a packet of sugarless flavoring to your water. Or put a slice of lemon or lime in plain or sparkling water.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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