Water: How much should you drink every day?
Info Provided by: MayoClinic.com
Nearly all of the major systems in your body depend on water.
How much water do you need?
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.
A couple of approaches attempt to approximate water needs for the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate.
- Replacement approach. The average urine output for adults is 1.5 liters a day. You lose close to an additional liter of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace the lost fluids.
- Dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3.0 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
Even apart from the above approaches, it is generally the case that if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce between one and two liters of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.
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 breast-feeding.
Exercise. The more you exercise, the more fluid you'll need to keep your body hydrated. An extra 1 or 2 cups of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires additional fluid. How much additional fluid is needed depends on how much you sweat during the exercise, but 13 to26 ounces (or about 2 to 3 cups) an hour will generally be adequate, unless the weather is exceptionally warm.
During long bouts of intense exercise, it's best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Fluid also should be replaced after exercise. Drinking 16 ounces of fluid per pound of body weight lost during exercise is recommended.
- Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
- Illnesses or health conditions. Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases you should drink more water and may even need oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or Ceralyte. Certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones, also require increased water intake. On the other hand, certain conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are lost especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.4 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.0 liters (about 12.5 cups) of fluids a day.
Although it's a great idea to keep water within reach at all times, you don't need to rely only on what you drink to satisfy your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake, while the Remaining 80 percent comes from water and beverages of all kinds.
For example, many fruits and vegetables — such as watermelon and cucumbers — are nearly 100 percent water by weight. Beverages such as milk and juice are also comprised mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soda can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is one of your best bets because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.
Failing to take in more water than your body uses can lead to dehydration. Even mild dehydration — as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight — can sap your energy and make you tired. Common causes of dehydration include strenuous activity, excessive sweating, vomiting and diarrhea.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- Mild to excessive thirst
- Dry mouth
- Little or no urination
- Muscle weakness
Mild dehydration rarely results in complications — as long as the fluid is replaced quickly — but more-severe cases can be life-threatening, especially in the very young and the elderly. In extreme situations, fluids or electrolytes may need to be delivered intravenously.
- Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
- Hydrate before, during and after exercise.
- Substitute sparkling water for alcoholic drinks at social gatherings.
If you drink water from a bottle, thoroughly clean or replace the bottle often. Refill only bottles that are designed for reuse.
For the past 2 years now I have been drinking a gallon of water a day, I normally stop somewhere like a Walgreens or any place where I can get a gallon jug without having to wait in lines at a grocery store. Anyhow, I completely finish the gallon about 4 days a week and the other days there is a cup or two left but not that much...I have to say I can totally notice the difference in my energy levels and even my health. Also something that they did not really mention above is that water naturally cuts and defines your body where you are most tone and Cold water actually burns fat as the body process it. ( I do not like to drink it cold from the jug because its just way to much water) I had a Contest with Mike Ciucci (Josh were you there for that contest?)once to see who could finish a gallon first...I won by a sip (LOL!) and I will tell you that was the worst contest ever...Did you know that if you drink that much water fast it will throw your equilibrium off and it`s actually like being drunk. I actually drank the gallon in just under 2 hours...Needless to say I will never do that again. But I am curious...How much water do you drink? I challenge you to try the gallon! (Or for those of you that know me...I call it "The Galloon")