We all know that water is essential to our health and well-being, but how much of it do we really need? It’s a common question that most people don’t know the answer to. While the old recommendation used to be 8-10 glasses a day, there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation that’s right for everyone.
Instead, how much water you need each day depends on your height and weight, your gender, your activity level, and the stage of life you’re in.
This blog will break down all the facts surrounding daily water intake and help you decide how much H2O you should really be drinking.
Let’s dive in.
Why Water Matters
The human body is about 60% water, while the blood that runs through our veins is about 90% water. Put simply, we are what we drink, and staying hydrated is important for a variety of reasons.
Here are just a few of the functions water serves in our bodies:
- Water regulates the body temperature
- Water helps transport nutrients to every cell in the body
- Water helps us digest our food
- Water flushes toxins from the body
- Water regulates the internal temperatures of the body through respiration and sweating
- Water forms the fluid layer around the brain that provides protection and shock absorption
- Water cushions and protects the spinal cord and, during pregnancy, the fetus
- Water keeps the body’s tissues hydrated and promotes the suppleness of the skin
When we don’t drink enough water, all sorts of bad things happen. Dehydration causes changes in our mood and ability to focus, leads to electrolyte imbalance and constipation, and can even result in kidney disease, anemia, and increased cholesterol levels.
How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?
At a minimum, every adult should drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Ideally, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that adult men drink 3.7 liters of water per day and adult women drink about 2.7 liters of water each day.
Again, though, those are just baseline recommendations, and they will not be enough for everyone. Pregnant women, people who are very physically active, and people with certain health conditions may need to drink more water each day to feel their best. Ideally, about 80% of your daily water intake should come from beverages, while about 20% should come from food sources.
To truly determine how much water you need each day, you’ve got to understand your current baseline hydration. An excellent way to do that is to look at your urine. If it’s clear or near-clear, it’s a sign that your body is adequately hydrated. If it’s yellow with a strong smell, that’s a sign of dehydration.
To calibrate your daily hydration, start by upping your existing water intake. Monitor your urine to track changes in color and smell. Once you’ve achieved clear, odorless urine, note how much water you’re drinking. Adjust accordingly as your activity level or hydration requirements change.
5 Tips to Drink More Water Each Day
Let’s face it: staying hydrated can be challenging! Most of us have busy lives that make it tough to remember to sip water all the time. Because of that, getting enough water each day can require some creativity.
Here are our top five tips:
1. Get in the habit of keeping water nearby
A big part of staying hydrated is learning to keep water within reach. Buy yourself a high-quality, reusable water bottle that you enjoy using. We love the stainless steel options from HydroFlask or the BPA-free options from Nalgene.
Get one that’s slim enough to slip into your bag or fit into your car’s cup holder. Each day, get into the habit of filling the bottle up and taking it with you wherever you go – on your desk at work, in the car while you run errands, and on your nightstand when you go to bed.
If you want to get serious about your hydration, you can also invest in a huge, half-gallon water bottle (like this one from HydroMate) that helps you track your water intake. Capable of holding 128 ounces, this water bottle is a great way to visually keep tabs on how much you’re drinking each day.
No matter how you choose to do it, having water within arm’s reach is a great way to drink more each day.
2. Flavor it
Some people have trouble staying hydrated because they find plain water boring. To get around this, flavor your water to make it an enjoyable treat. Use an infuser bottle to flavor your water with slices of fresh citrus or fruit, or grab some powdered hydration multiplier (like LiquidIV) to make each sip taste great!
3. Set a timer
To keep yourself on track, consider setting an alarm to go off every hour. Every time it sounds, go to the kitchen and grab yourself a glass of water. This is a great way to take intentional steps toward increasing your daily water intake.
4. Start each meal with a glass
Before you sit down to eat, get in the habit of drinking a glass of water first. In addition to helping you stay hydrated, this simple act fills your stomach up and decreases the likelihood that you’ll overeat during your meal.
5. Choose foods that are high in water
Food can be a great source of water, too! Choose foods with high water content, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, celery, lettuce, watermelon, and peaches, to feel your best.
Staying Hydrated: The Key to Living Your Best Life
Staying hydrated is critical to our health, wellbeing, and fitness. Even small changes like keeping water nearby and flavoring yours with delicious additions like fresh citrus and fruit can go a long way to help you drink more water and give your body the hydration it needs. Happy sipping!