How much water do you really need?

Everyone has heard the old mantra to “drink eight glasses of water every day.” But is this true for everyone? How much water do you really need every day?

How much water do you really need?

Why Should I Drink a Lot of Water?

Your body is about 60 percent water. We need water to maintain our bodily functions, including digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature.[i] “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health,” says Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Dr. Steven Guest.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include the following:

  • Tiredness
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Increased thirst
  • Decreased urine output

How Much Water Should I Drink Every Day?

The Institute of Medicine recommends the following total daily water intake:

  • Men: 13 cups of water (104 fluid ounces)
  • Women: 9 cups of water (72 fluid ounces)

When Should I Drink More Water?

There are times when you really need to drink more than the recommended amount of water. These times are as follows:

  • Before, during and after exercise
  • When it’s hot outside
  • If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
  • When you’re sick

What If I Can’t Drink That Much Water Every Day?

Sure you can! It can be difficult at first to drink so much water every day if you’re not used to doing so, but here are some tips to help keep you hydrated.

  1. Don’t leave home without it! A large variety of water bottles is currently on the market, so it’s easy to find one that matches your personal style. Look for bottles that are stainless steel because they don’t have any of the chemicals that many plastic bottles tend to have.
  2. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water! By the time you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Your brain can also mistake thirst for hunger. If you feel yourself starting to get the munchies, drink a few glasses of water and then see whether you are still hungry.
  3. There’s an app for that! Where would we be without our smartphones? These days, there’s an app for everything, including apps that send a reminder to your phone when it’s time to drink some water. Our favorites include:
    1. Water Your Body
    2. Drinking Water
    3. Water Reminder—Stay Healthy
    4. Daily Water—Water Reminder
    5. Drink-O-Matic

    Technology is wonderful, isn’t it?

  4. Drink ionized alkaline water! Alkaline water is great for those people who don’t like drinking water as well as for people who love water! Ionized water is restructured water with a smaller molecular size. It is more easily absorbed by the cells in your body; therefore, you won’t experience any unpleasant sloshing around in your stomach! As an added bonus, ionized alkaline water also has high antioxidant levels!

    Do you have any tips for drinking more water that weren’t mentioned here? We would love to hear about them! Leave us a comment about your favorite way to stay hydrated!

[i] Zelman, K. M. (2008). 6 Reasons to drink water: It’s no magic bullet, but the benefits of water are many. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

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