Much effort has been put into how much water one should take daily but not how to drink it. How you drink water when thirsty has a significant effect on your health.
You can either sip or gulp your water down. However, people often tend to guzzle the water down, especially when thirsty.
But does chugging water hydrate you? No. In fact, it may bring more harm than good. If you drink a lot of water fast, your body will respond by flushing the excess water from your body and slowing down the hydration process.
Chugging water leads to a significant loss of water which indirectly leads to the loss of salts from your blood. Remember, your body is still losing more water through sweating and heavy breathing.
How Much Water Can Your Body Handle?
Although drinking more water daily has significant health benefits, you need to know your limits. Drinking more water than your kidneys can handle leads to water intoxication.
So, how much should you really drink per day? How much water is enough for you?
Health experts recommend healthy adults to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. This, however, doesn’t work for everyone, especially gym enthusiasts and pregnant or breastfeeding mums.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, on the other hand, has it that an adult woman should drink 91 ounces or 2.7 liters of water daily, and men 125 ounces or 3.7 liters.
But generally, what dictates the amount of water one needs to drink daily is their overall health, age, gender, climate, and exercise.
The more active you are, the more water you’ll have to drink every day to cover for the fluids lost through sweating. Those living in arid areas drink more water than those in cooler regions.
Men drink more water than women daily as they have more energy expenditure and minimal body fat. In fact, 60% of men’s body weight is water, and for women, 55%.
Is it Better to Sip Water or Gulp it?
Sipping water will hydrate you. Unlike chugging, sipping the water slowly allows your body to process the water and hydrate. It reduces the endless visits to the toilet you’ll have to deal you after gulping several cups of water down.
Additionally, saliva is alkaline, meaning you need to give it enough time to mix with water to help stabilize the acid in your stomach.
Drinking water slowly can also help strengthen your digestive system and improve your metabolism.
What happens if you rehydrate too quickly?
Rehydrating too quickly can lead to water intoxication. The amount of salt in your body and other electrolytes becomes dangerously low and fatal if the situation isn’t dealt with immediately.
Untreated overhydration causes severe symptoms like muscle weakness, seizures, unconsciousness, and coma.
Although death by overhydration is rare, it can still happen.
How fast can you rehydrate with water?
The time it will take you to rehydrate with water depends on how dehydrated you are. You can relieve mild dehydration in 45 minutes.
To recover from moderate to severe dehydration, it’ll take longer. This, however, depends on the amount of fluids and type of electrolytes you take.
For instance, you might require intravenous fluids and up to 24 hours to recover if you suffer from severe dehydration.
The cause of dehydration also affects how fast you can rehydrate with water. For example, individuals with kidney disease might suffer from chronic dehydration.
With the severity of dehydration, you might end up spending a few days in the hospital recovering. And even after recovery, you’ll have to check with your doctor from time to time to keep track of your electrolyte levels.
Should you chug water when dehydrated?
When dehydrated, it’s better to sip water slowly instead of gulping it down. Taking small sips helps your body to absorb the water properly.
Chugging the water can bring dehydration back up again – it can counteract the health effects of drinking water. So, go slow when drinking your water.
Is chugging water healthy?
It depends on the amount of water you are chugging and how you chug it. If you chug too much water, you’ll flood your system with water and give yourself an electrolyte imbalance.
If your kidneys can’t flush all the water you’ve consumed, the extra water can swell your brain cells and cause your brain to expand against the skull. Severe cellular swelling can cause brain stem herniation, seizures, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death.
Avoid chugging water when exercising or being highly active. The risk of water intoxication is high if you’ve been highly active for an extended period, especially in a hot environment.
Remember, you lose a lot of sodium through sweat when exercising. Therefore taking too much water fast at the same will further dilute the content of sodium in your blood.
Additionally, drinking too much water at once can choke you – water can spill into your airways. You can also vomit the excess water in your stomach if you flood it with more fluids than it can handle.
Is it better to chug water or drink it slowly?
Chugging water may not help you recover from dehydration. In fact, it can bring the condition back.
When you chug a lot of water at a go, very little gets absorbed by your body tissues and muscles. Within a short period, the kidneys register this as excess water and expel it.
When this happens, salts mixed with this water are eliminated from your body.
Drinking water in small sips helps your body to absorb the water properly. It enables you to recover from dehydration fast.
Some water bottles have a narrower opening to prevent chugging.
Can you rehydrate by chugging water?
You can only rehydrate by chugging water if you do it in moderation. Don’t gulp down 5 glasses of water at once just because you are extremely thirsty.
If possible, avoid chugging water. After all, you won’t be punished for taking your water slowly, right? Why expose yourself to the dangers of water intoxication while you have the power to control the situation?