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  Naomi McDonald   August 18, 2015   Health, Wellness 0 Comments

How much water should you be drinking every day?

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Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day

It is a vital requirement of life that we keep hydrated, and the best way to do so is by consuming water. But how much water is necessary to stay hydrated? The answer to this is: There isn’t a set answer.

Your water intake depends on several factors, such as:

  • Your health

  • How active you are

  • Your local climate

Learning more about your body’s need for water will help you figure out how much to drink each day. Your water and hydration needs might differ from those of your significant other, your neighbor and even your sibling.

Where is water?

Water makes up 60 percent of your body weight, which means that every system in the body depends on water. You lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. In order for your body to function properly, you must refill your water supply by consuming food and beverages that contain water.

On average, food takes care of 20 percent of your daily water intake. Many fruits and vegetables are 90 percent water or more. Milk and many juices are also composed predominantly of water. That being said, drinking water should still be your top pick for hydration because it’s calorie-free, relatively cheap and usually easy to find.

So how much do you need?

According to the The Institute of Medicine, an adequate intake of water for men is approximately 3 liters or 13 cups a day. For women, it’s about 2.2 liters or 9 cups a day.

This isn’t much different from what your parents and doctors have been telling you since you were little: Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (that’s 64 ounces or 1.9 liters). This figure isn’t supported by any hard data, but it’s easy to remember. Just remember that you can also drink fluids that aren’t water, since you can count all fluids toward your daily intake.

Some factors that might require you to modify your daily intake include:

  • Exercise: If you take part in any sort of activity that makes you sweat, it would be smart to drink an extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water. Engaging in intense exercise (such as a triathlon) requires much more fluid, like a sports drink that contains sodium, which aids in the absorption and retention of fluids. The amount of water and other fluids you need really depends on how much you sweat and the duration of exercise activities.

  • Environment: People typically lose a lot of fluid to sweat in hot, humid weather, and therefore require more fluids than they would otherwise need. Cold weather can also cause skin to lose more moisture, which means you need to drink more. Altitudes greater than 8,200 feet can increase urination and cause more rapid breathing, which causes more fluid loss than normal.

  • Pregnancy/Breastfeeding: Pregnant or breastfeeding women need additional fluids to keep hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups a day and women who are breastfeeding should consume 13 cups.

  • Illnesses: When you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses a great deal of fluid, so you will need to drink more water. Your doctor might even recommend a beverage high in electrolytes, like Gatorade or Powerade, to more efficiently replenish the fluids your body loses.

How do you know?

A good indication that you need to add more water to your system is by noting the color of your urine. If your urine is darker in color, it could mean that you aren’t getting enough fluid or drinking enough water. Ideally, your urine should be close to clear in color.

To stay safely hydrated, drink a glass of water with each meal as well as between each meal. In addition, drink water before, during and after exercising. Be sure to connect with Velocity Care on Facebook for additional health tips.

Uninsured patients may benefit from the Value Card

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Medical disclaimer

This site offers medical, health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. General information found on this website is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your health care professional.

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