How much water is enough?

We are all advised to drink more water but too much is as dangerous as too little! Drinking too much water can dilute your salt levels to such an extent that heart, brain and muscle function is affected. Known as water intoxication or ‘hyponatraemia’, it is an extremely serious condition in which excess water in the body can affect the balance of the electrolytes to a life threatening degree.

Symptoms of water intoxication include dizziness, nausea, headaches and disorientation. In extreme circumstances it can cause your brain to swell.

It’s very easy to forget how much water you have consumed but you do need to monitor this to prevent the risk of water intoxication. A good way of checking how much water you have drunk is to check the colour of your urine against a urine chart.

A urine chart (also known as a ‘pee’ chart) is used by many sportspeople as a way of checking their hydration state. The athlete can compare the colour of their urine against this chart to see whether they are properly hydrated. Dark coloured urine indicates dehydration whereas clear or straw colour urine indicates a correct level of hydration.

Sports Nutrition Guide Index:

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