By Mark Nelson President Nelson Water:

With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley. 

We all need water to live. Water is necessary for every function in the human body, and it makes a refreshing drink. Unfortunately, despite the fact that water is all around us, there are some common misconceptions that need to be dispelled, so you can appreciate all the benefits of this clear, life giving liquid.

Everyone Needs Eight Glasses of Water Each Day

This is a common misconception that everyone should be drinking eight glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration. While this is a good estimate, as it adds up to approximately two litres of water, your optimum water intake will vary according to your age, sex, activity level, and overall health. So, a physically active man will need to drink far more than a woman with a very sedentary lifestyle. Your water intake will also be affected if you are pregnant or suffering from an illness. Your optimum intake can also vary from day to day. So, rather than sticking to an arbitrary rule about eight glasses, try to tailor your water intake to your specific needs. A good indicator of your hydration is the colour of your urine. Ideally, it should be a light yellow colour, and if it is darker, you need to drink more water to replenish your lost fluids.

Being Thirsty Means You’re Dehydrated

This is not necessarily the case. Although feeling thirsty does indicate that you need to get something to drink, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re already dehydrated. True dehydration begins when the “concentration of substances” within your blood go up by at least 5%. Feeling thirsty typically starts at 2%, so you may not actually be dehydrated at that moment. It is important to address feeling thirsty as soon as possible, as this situation can quickly escalate, particularly on a hot day or when you are exerting yourself. So, be sure to have some water on hand, so you can have a drink as soon as you start to feel thirsty and you can avoid dehydration altogether.

Sports Drinks are More Beneficial Than Water

Whether you’re a keen gym bunny or a serious athlete, you may have been told that a sports drink will be more beneficial than water. Ultimately water is all the body requires to function at all activity levels, whether that is professional sports or just conducting your everyday activities. It is important to note that a drop in hydration of just 1 to 2% can affect sporting performance, so if you are engaging in high levels of activity, it is crucial to stay adequately hydrated. Water is the best way to maintain your critical fluid levels, particularly during periods of physical exertion. Drinking before, during and after your physical activities will help to regulate your body temperature and protect your muscles. The exact amounts of water will vary according to your age, sex, and physical size, but generally, try to drink a glass of water two hours before exercising, a glass for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise and up to two glasses of water for every ½ kilo lost from sweating.

You Can’t Drink Too Much Water

While many articles will detail the importance of drinking lots of water, you can have too much of a good thing. Your body can only cope with so much liquid at once, and the body can reach a desalination point if you drink too much water at once. This can affect your kidneys and other organs as they struggle to process the fluid. Additionally, you should be careful about how much water you’re drinking when you’re eating. Drinking lots of water can dilute the stomach acid which can lead to digestive issues such as indigestion. This leads us nicely to the next myth….

You Shouldn’t Drink During Your Meals

This is a partially true blanket statement. While you shouldn’t drink too much during a meal, it is okay to have a little water. In fact, having a glass of water with your meal can be a good thing. A glass of water can help you to keep the amount you’re eating in check, as you’re more likely to feel fuller faster. You may even find that your hunger pains are caused by needing water. So, before you plan a heavy snack because you feel famished, try drinking a glass of water. After ten minutes, you may find that you don’t feel hungry any longer and you don’t need that snack. This can be helpful if you’re trying to keep your weight in check or struggling to shift a few stubborn kilos. You’ll feel satiated without eating any additional calories.

Water’s Boring

Finally, you may be under the misapprehension that water is boring. While swapping to water can be a challenge if you’re used to drinking lots of sugary sodas and juices, once you get used to the lack of sugar, you’re likely to find water far more refreshing. If you’re struggling to make the transition to drinking water and ditching soda, try adding a dash of lemon or lime juice to your water, which will make it taste more interesting. You should also consider your water quality. Ordinary tap water can taste a little unpalatable, but when your water has been filtered, you’re likely to find it tastes far nicer.

Water is an essential building block to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Staying hydrated with delicious, cool water will keep your blood smoothly flowing, and help you to feel more alert and active. The benefits of drinking water, far outweigh any potential concerns, so remember to keep sipping.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of drinking water or have concerns about your water quality, you should speak to a water treatment specialist. An experienced professional can not only test your tap water to check for levels of contaminants, but also guide you through the treatment options best suited to the unique characteristics of your water, so you can enjoy great tasting water straight from your tap.