How can I tell if I'm drinking enough fluids?

One easy test, if you are adequately hydrated before exercise, your urine will be clear—or a very pale yellow.

Interestingly enough, thirst isn't the best indicator about whether you're dehydrated. You see, by the time you realize you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. The trick is to sip water throughout your day so you never reach that dehydration point. Here is the water schedule I recommend you adhere to:

  • Within 30 minutes of waking up: 16 ounces
  • 30 to 60 minutes before each meal: 16 ounces
  • During a meal: limit to 4 to 8 ounces
  • Start drinking water again 60 minutes after each meal
  • Before bed: 8 ounces

A little fat loss tip: sometimes thirst can masquerade as hunger and cravings. If you're hankering for a mid-afternoon snack, have a glass of water first. One study at the University of Washington found participants who drank 8 ounces of water before bed curbed hunger.

The only time I don’t want you drinking is during meals, when too much water can dilute stomach enzymes that break down protein. Otherwise, drink up!

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

The purpose of urine is to get rid of waste, like nitrogen, through urea. Clear urine means that you've gotten enough fluid to wash it all out. If you can't read through your urine, that means the urine has been concentrated a bit.

Water is important for more than just flushing waste out of your system. It also allows chemical reactions in your body and helps blood reach capillaries to bring in more nutrients.

Not having enough water gets the whole system to become sluggish, including your bowel. One of the best solutions for constipation is water, just because you can mix it up a little bit and get it going.

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Dr. Michael Bergeron, PhD
Sports Medicine Specialist

A simple way you can determine if you are drinking enough is by looking at the color and volume of your urine. Urine that is darker in color and low in volume can be a sign of significant dehydration. The goal is to have regular urinations that are light yellow in color. If you are making frequent stops at the bathroom with perfectly clear urine, it is probably a sign that you are drinking too much water.

You can tell if you're drinking enough fluid if you go to the bathroom every two to four hours and your urine is pale yellow in color. The amount of fluid you need each day is based on a number of factors, including your gender, activity and fitness level, the weather and certain medical conditions, such as pregnancy.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.