It’s a simple question, with a not so simple answer. There are many factors that can affect how much water your body needs. Perhaps as a child you were told you must drink 8 glasses of water a day. Think back to your food pyramid days. Before we look into some factors that determine how much water you need, lets look at the importance of a healthy intake of water daily.
What are the health benefits of water?
About 60 percent of our body’s weight is water. It is the principal chemical component helping every system in your body. Consider that water flushes out toxins, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides moisture to your ear, nose, throat and sinus systems. If you don’t take in enough water, you may find yourself dehydrated. If this happens, normal bodily functions will be affected making you feel tired and draining your energy.
So back to the first question, how much do I really need?
Water leaves your body a number of ways throughout the day. Simply breathing, perpiration, urine and bowel movements all cause your body to loose water. In order to keep your body running properly you need to make sure you replenish the water your body uses and looses.
On average a healthy male adult living in an average temperature climate will need 13 cups of water (about 3 liters) of beverages per day. The average intake for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) per day. Did you notice that I said beverages and not water. Keep in mind that most beverages are primarily made of water. This includes milk, juice, and even beer and wine. However, the later should never be the primary choice for rehydration. So how does that 8 cups a day measure up. Well truth of the matter its easy to remember 8 cups a day which is roughly 1.9liters. Really not that far off from what is recommended. Remember, this is just a guideline and there are many factors that could cause your needed intake to increase even higher. Lets look at a few of these factors.
If you exercise or you are doing activities that cause you to sweat, then you are going to need to take in some extra water. If you decide to drink sports drinks, please look at the label. Many times these drinks are loaded with sugar which is unnecessary for rehydration. Simple, free clean water is all you really need.
Of course if decided to walk across the desert you are going to need some extra water. You need to pay attention to your own body, warm humid weather can cause you to sweat, loosing more water. However dry heated indoor air can cause you to lose moisture in the wintertime faster that you realize. Stay alert and anticipate that you might need some extra water.
Illness or heath issues
If you are sick and have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea your body may loose water extra fast. If you are loosing water fast from these illnesses, your doctor may recommend a sports drink to help replenish and rehydrate you faster. Keep in mind that if you have a condition where you body can’t get rid of water properly, you’ll have to keep this in mind. Again check with your doctor if you are unsure.
Can I drink too much water?
It is possible but unlikely. For the most part if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is light or colorless your intake is probably adequate. Remember about 20 percent of most foods are water by weight. Some fruits are as high at 90 percent. Why not track your water intake for a few days, and see what you are currently doing and if you are drinking enough water!