How to Test Your Hydration Levels
Although the government guidance states that we should all be drinking around six to eight glasses of water a day, our actual individual needs vary greatly. Those with an active lifestyle will naturally need to drink more than someone who is sedentary, for example, and certain medical conditions can also boost your hydration requirements. So, as useful as it is to have a hydration goal to aim for, it is also helpful to test your levels throughout the day, in order to determine that you are maintaining the correct amount of H20.
The Wee Test
One of the easiest, most reliable ways of checking your body’s hydration levels is to keep an eye on the colour of your urine. The darker it is, the more water you need to drink to stay healthy. The lighter it is, the better your body is able to flush out toxins from your body. Of course, if you are regularly going to the toilet, you’ll need to drink a little bit more, in order to replace that lost liquid.
The Pinch Test
Perhaps the most convenient test on-the-go is the pinch test. To do this, simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand between your thumb and index finger. When you let go, see how long it takes for your skin to return to normal. If it bounces straight back, you can relax in the knowledge that your hydration levels are healthy. If it takes a few more seconds, you should probably get yourself a glass of water!
The Sweat Test
If you want to ensure you are drinking enough water while exercising, you can try the sweat test. This requires you to weigh yourself before you workout and then again afterwards. The weight you lose while moving is equal to the water lost through sweat. You should try to drink around two cups, or 16ounces, of water for every pound lost.
The Tech Test
If you have a smart watch that you use to track your heart rate, calories burnt and other health-related issues, you may soon be able to add a hydration tracker to your list of apps. Apple has developed a hydration sensor that may soon be added to their smart watch offering, and where the American giants go, others soon follow. So, keep an eye on the new app releases for your smart watch.
The Doctor Test
If you are seriously concerned about your hydration levels and are starting to show some of the tell-tale signs, such as a dry mouth, dizziness, lethargy and a high temperature, you can go to A&E. A doctor will likely use both blood tests and urine tests to check your hydration levels. A blood test looks for signs of electrolytes commonly found in water that are essential for cell function, while also ensuring the kidneys are working properly. A urine test will quickly show up whether you have been drinking enough (as per the Wee Test) and will also look for signs of infection caused by lack of hydration. If in doubt, have a glass of water anyway–your body will thank you for it