Water is essential to good health, so it is important for you to drink enough every day. The amount of water you need depends on many factors, including how active you are and the weather.
Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Most of us are chronically dehydrated.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a serious and even life-threatening condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Most people don’t realize that even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism, cause joint pain, fuzzy thinking.
When people think they are tired, it is more likely that they haven’t had enough water, which causes fatigue. Even more surprising is that when you think you are hungry, you probably just thirsty, and drinking a glass or two of water will help you feel full, which can help you lose weight.
How Much Water Do you Need Each Day?
The average healthy adult living in a temperate climate needs about 8 or 9 eight-ounce cups of water daily. Here are some simple tips:
- Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. One approach to water intake is the “8 x 8 rule” — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
- Food contributes about 20% of your fluid intake if you are consuming fruits and vegetables. Herbal teas count as water.
- If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for that fluid loss. Drink before a workout, during, and after to make sure you stay hydrated.
- In hot or humid weather, you need to drink additional water to help lower your body temperature and to replace what you lose through sweating. You may also need additional water in cold weather if you sweat while wearing insulated clothing.
Factors that influence water needs.
You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you exercise or are active and sweat, you need to drink an extra water 1-2 cups per hour. You will benefit from drinking a sports drink for longer periods of exercise as this will help replace sodium loss. Dehydration can be life-threatening.
Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires an additional intake of fluid. Illnesses or health conditions such as fever, vomiting, or diarrhea cause your body to lose additional fluids.
Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. Water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose, and throat tissues.
Set Yourself up for Success
- Help keep track of your water intake: Write down the number of glasses of water or beverages in a food journal or keep a large container with your daily water.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty. By the time you become thirsty, you may already be dehydrated.
- Don’t mistake thirst for hunger. One glass of water will shut down hunger pangs.
- Reach for water when you are tired. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
- Remember water to ease stiffness. Research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain.
- Help cut calories. Drink sparkling water with juice in place of alcohol.
- Focus on the water to help your memory. A drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory and difficulty focusing.
The Balance Between Water and Minerals
If you often feel bloated, puffy, or swollen, it may be due to the delicate balance in our bodies between water and minerals. Water aids in proper digestion to dispel waste products and in maintaining our fluid balance. The best way to ensure the proper fluid balance is to eat a balanced diet from all the food groups, drink enough water, and cut back on processed, packaged, and canned foods.
Water is critical to our well being
Water makes up about 60 percent of our body weight. Also, water assists with the transport of nutrients and waste products throughout the body, participates in proper hormone balance, helps cushion our spinal cord and joints, regulates body temperature, and can help prevent heart attacks.
Drinking water also hydrates skin, lessens wrinkles, and gives us a lovely glow. Fluid and electrolyte balance in the body is crucial to our kidney and brain function.
Drinking enough water also helps alleviate headaches, and this mucus offering relief when you have a cold or the flu. So, the next time you feel thirsty, be sure you finish the whole glass of water because you may already be dehydrated.