We all know that water is important to general health and well-being. But are you actually drinking the right amount of water? Perhaps you suspect that some of your health issues are related to dehydration or over-hydration? Getting the right amount of daily water is important because your body needs this to function properly.
Table of Contents
How much water should you drink each day
For a long time, conventional wisdom suggested that we drink 8 glasses of water a day. However, this figure does not have any basis in scientific evidence.
Experts instead advise that each person should drink the right amount of water for their body weight, level of physical activity and the climate.
So if not 8 glasses, how much?
The scientific answer that most healthcare professionals and experts agree on comes from the IoM (Institute of Medicine). The IoM is an independent, non-profit scientific organization and they recommend 2.7 liters of water a day for adult women and the figure of 3.7 liters for adult men. This is generally applicable to adults who have reasonably good health and live a sedentary lifestyle in a temperate climate.
However, there are instances where you may need to drink more water. For example, if you are in a hot climate or take part in demanding physical activity. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should aim to add 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes of demanding physical activity.
Why human beings need that much water
To put it simply, your body cannot function well without the right amount of hydration. This makes sense when you consider that water makes up around 60% of our body weight.
The human body has many important functions to perform and needs water to do most of them. For example, your blood needs to carry oxygen to all the cells in your body but it can only do this with water.
Are you drinking the right amount of water?
If you are not drinking the right amount of water, then you are either dehydrated or over-hydrated.
Signs of drinking too little water
Here are some simple things to look out for if you are dehydrated:
- Your mouth is dry
- The color of your urine is dark
- You feel dizzy or have headaches
- You generally feel tired or lethargic
Signs of drinking too much water
On the other hand, over-hydration or hyponatremia is usually caused by the over consumption of water in a short amount of time. This can lead to water intoxication and early symptoms of water intoxication can look like the symptoms of exhaustion and heatstroke.
Here are some common symptoms to check for if you are worried about over-hydration:
Watch this video to find out what happen when you drink too much water:
Quick ways to adjust your water intake
The sad truth is that most people are likely to be dehydrated instead of over-hydrated. In fact, some estimate that as many as 75% of Americans are dehydrated.
If you are not drinking enough water then you can remedy this by knowing what your correct daily water intake is and drinking up to that amount.
Here are some quick ideas to get more water into your diet:
- Infuse your water with fruits and herbs to sweeten the taste if you are a sugar addict.
- Get a water monitoring app to help you keep track of your water intake.
- Eat hydrating fruits like cucumber, watermelon and strawberries, which are all over 90% water.
Now that you have an idea of how much water you should drink in a day according to scientists, it’s time to adjust your water intake accordingly.
While reading this article, you might have discovered that you need to drink less water. However, if you’ve learned that you need more water, then you can do this simply by flavoring water with herbs, keeping track with an app and eating water-rich fruits like watermelons.
Getting the right amount of daily hydration into your diet will not just benefit your health but also your well-being.
Featured photo credit: Luke George via mrwatergeek.com
|||^||US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 x 8”?|
|||^||American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Information On Selecting and Effectively Using Hydration for Fitness|
|||^||University of Rochester Medical Center: Overview of Blood and Blood Components|
|||^||University of Florida Health Podcasts: Studies Show Most Americans Are Dehydrated|