How Many Glasses Of Water A Day?
By King Conall
How much water do you need to drink every day?
That’s a simple question which many people ask and it doesn’t have a simple answer.
Studies have produced varying recommendations and you’ve probably heard about 7-8 glasses per day.
However, in reality, your unique water needs depend on a variety of factors including your health, activity levels, and even where you live.
Water’s Unique Functions
Water is the principal chemical component of your body and makes up about 60% of body weight.
Every system in your body actually depends on water intake.
For example, fluid is essential for flushing out toxins, carrying nutrients to your cells, and providing a moist environment for nose, throat, and ear tissues.
When you’re not getting enough fluids through your diet, you’ll become dehydrated.
Fluid Needs Formula
Over the years, there have been a variety of formulas developed to estimate fluid needs for each person. One of these formulas is an estimation of your water needs based on your caloric intake.
This is a reasonable formula for most people and should meet your fluid needs in most cases.
Another formula that’s used is based on your body weight.
This formula calculates milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight. The formula is actually designed to provide a range of values since you may need slightly more or less.
In this case, your fluid needs can range from anywhere from 20-35 ml/kg of body weight. This formula is often used in a clinical setting and younger people are estimated to have higher fluid needs while older adults typically fall on the lower end of the fluid needs.
The Institute of Medicine recognizes that fluid needs vary per person, but has developed an adequate intake for both men and women.
This is the amount of fluid that you need to drink if you are an average, healthy adult who lives in a temperate climate.
For men, drinking 13 cups or 3 liters is considered adequate while women need about 9 cups or 2.2 liters of total fluid every day.
What About 7-8 Cups?
If you’ve heard the advice to drink 7-8 glasses of water a day, you may be wondering where that recommendation originated. That amount of water is about 1.9 liters which actually isn’t significantly different than the Institute of Medicine recommendations.
Although this recommendation isn’t supported by the hard evidence, it remains popular in health promotion because it’s easy to remember.
Factors that Influence Fluid Needs
You’ll probably need to modify your fluid needs depending on several factors.
For example, if you exercise or engage in a variety of activities where you sweat, you’ll need to drink extra water to compensate for fluid losses.
An extra two cups of water is usually enough for shorter bouts of exercise.
However, if you exercise for longer than an hour, you’ll need to drink more fluid throughout the activity.
To avoid dehydration, try to get in one cup every hour of an extended activity.
Your environment can also increase your fluid needs.
Hot or humid weather makes you sweat and requires an additional intake of fluid.
If you live or work in a heated indoor environment, this hot air causes your skin to lose more moisture than normal.
Finally, higher altitudes trigger increased fluid losses and rapid breathing which is going to use up more of your fluid reserves.
Beyond the Tap
You don’t necessarily need to rely on just water to meet fluid needs.
Remember that what you eat also provides a significant portion of fluid every day.
On average, foods provide about 20% of your total water intake.
Many fruits and vegetables are up to 90% water by their weight.
So, if you have a slice of watermelon, for example, you’re probably getting at least a half cup of fluid which contributes to your intake.
However, these sources should not be a major portion of your fluid intake.
Water is your best option for hydrating since it’s free of additives, inexpensive, and usually readily available.
Generally, make sure to drink enough fluid so that you don’t feel thirsty.
Also, monitor the color of your urine if it is light yellow, dark yellow or colorless because that could be an indication if you are getting enough fluid or not in your body.
If you’re worried about getting enough every day or have special health needs, be sure to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
These health professionals can make personalized recommendations that you may need.
Your best option is to carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day and drink on it regularly.
My Final Thoughts
Although everyone has varying fluid needs, these recommendations can provide you with a good way to get started meeting your needs.
Use this evidence to keep track of how much water you’re drinking throughout the day and if you’re getting enough to meet your daily needs.
So drink up and stay hydrated my friends!
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