Water. It is the one single element any living thing cannot do without for an extended period of time. Did you know everybody is a little different in how much water they need? How much water should you drink daily?
There are several factors that contribute to how much water a person needs to drink per day. And believe it or not, it can vary from day to day. I know the last thing anyone wants to do is more mental math about another thing in their life. But, the good news is you won’t need to do that math every day.
Once you get your amount figured out, you can just aim for that number and also listen to you body. It’ll all balance out.
How Much Water Should You Drink Daily?
There is a lot of widely varied advice out there about what that magic number is. European and American health administrations recommend adults drink 8-10 Cups/2-2.5L per day (3) Meanwhile a Harvard Medical professor recommends half that per day (4) .
Newer research suggests that these “one size fits all” might get close to the range but some people may need more depending on the following factors (4)
- Activity Levels
- The season/ Outdoor temperatures
- Electrolyte levels
- Amount of alcohol and caffeinated beverages consumed
- If you are pregnant or breast feeding
Some of those might sound a little weird right? But here’s why…
Weight and Gender
You might be wondering why it is recommended men drink more than women. It has to do with how much you weigh. Generally speaking, men are bigger so they need more water.
With the recent uptick in obesity over the last couple decades, many nutritionists, doctors, and trainers are recommending that instead, you base your water intake on your weight. To calculate this, take your current weight and divide that number by 2. That number is the base amount of how many ounces of water you should drink every day. For example…
Lets say you weigh 150 lb. 150 / 2 = 75. You should start with 75 oz. of water per day.
Activity, Temperatures, and Electrolytes
Did you know athletes can lose up to 6-10% of their water weight by sweating?? (1) That’s A LOT! Regardless of whether you’re an olympic athlete or just doing some yard work on a hot day, increased activity levels will guarantee you need to add a cup or two of water onto your basic intake.
But what about electrolytes? Electrolytes are the minerals that allow your muscles to absorb water. Electrolytes can leave the body through sweating, urination, and defecation (5). So the more you sweat, the more you need to replace electrolytes via your food (I’ll get to that in a minute) or with a sports drinks.
However, sports drinks often contain high levels of sugars and/or caffeine, making them not so healthy. It is recommended that sports drinks only be consumed if you have an hour of heavy exercising (4) or some quality outdoor time on a hot day.
Pregnant and Breast Feeding Women
Depending on your resource, it is recommended pregnant and breastfeeding women consume an additional 16-32 oz/0.5-1L of water per day. This is due to the fact that you are maintaining and creating a living person other than yourself. The extra water goes to hydrating the baby and/or producing sufficient milk supply.
Diet and Beverage Consumption
This is where the extra mental math begins. Keep in mind that listening to your body in this factor goes a long way!
First, what beverages count the same as water? Herbal Teas, Juice, sports drinks, and milk can all be counted as water intake. Even caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee, despite the fact that they are diuretics (aka, water eliminators) don’t dehydrate you as much as originally thought (4). However, it is unclear how much hydration comes from a cup of coffee or tea.
People who eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables can claim some of their water intake from food. Certain fruits such as watermelon are nearly 100% water for example
Some people are good with keeping track of things but, I, however, am not! I need a little help in that department. I like to keep this tracking sheet on the fridge as both a reminder to drink water, and an easy and convenient way to record it all.
You can also listen to your body. Do you feel thirsty? Are you craving a water rich food? Is your urine light or dark? How is your energy level? All these are ways your body tell you about hydration.
How Being Hydrated Affects The Body
Water is the key to feeling good and having energy. The following are some of the studied and proven effects of being properly hydrated
- Hydration affects your energy levels (1)
- Drinking more water improves brain and memory function (1)
- Getting all your water in can help prevent headaches (1)
- Being hydrated can help you lose weight (1)
- Drinking more water may help prevent and/or treat kidney stones (1)
- Proper hydration aids in colon health and prevents constipation (1)
- Water lubricates your muscles and joints (2)
- Drinking enough water helps to regulate body temperature (2)
- Being hydrated helps with skin elasticity (2)
Water is amazing, isn’t it? So, make a conscious effort to drink all your water and I guarantee you will see results in energy levels and much more. Fast!
How much water should you drink daily? Tell me in the comments.