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Your body is hydrated by essentially ever food or drink you put into your body. Here's what to aim for.
Whether you have heard it from a friend, doctor, you have likely heard somewhere that you’re supposed to “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” We’ll do the math for you: that’s a total of 64 ounces of water each day.
However, many social media fitness and weight loss influencers have introduced the Gallon Water Challenge. They encourage followers to drink a gallon of water everyday for 30 days—that’s twice as much as the 8x8 rule!
For such a simple question, why do the answers vary so much? Well, every single body is different, and your daily requirements may change based on a slew of other factors. It’s complicated, but we have some general guidelines to help you figure out how much water is right for you.
Why is it important to stay hydrated?
Here are the facts: water makes up 60% of our body weight and keeps all of our internal organs functioning properly. Some other key benefits of water include:
Regulating body temperature
Flushing bacteria from our body
Aiding in digestion
Lubricating our joints
Unfortunately, even low levels of dehydration can cause physical stress on your body: headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Sounds...awful! No one wants to walk around like a zombie. If you are feeling thirsty, your body is telling your brain it’s time to drink a glass of water.
Another great indicator that your body is in need of fluids is the color of your urine (or lack of trips to the bathroom). When your pee is dark in color, nowhere near clear, your body is lacking the fluids it needs. So drink up!
Do you love when someone tells you that you look younger than your actual age? We do! Well, dermatologists tend to agree that our water intake has significant impacts on our skin health. Staying hydrated will increase blood flow to your skin and improve its density and thickness. This will give your skin a radiant glow while diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.
So…how much water should I drink?
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies set general recommendations for daily total water intake for healthy adults living in temperate climates:
Women: 2.7 liters (91 ounces)
Men: 3.7 liters (125 ounces)
Did you know only about 80% of this daily water intake comes from drinking fluids? Although water is the best option, other beverages add to your fluid intake, including caffeinated coffee and tea, beer, and wine. BUT you should try to avoid too many sugary and alcoholic drinks which are linked to other side effects like weight gain and inflammation. The remaining 20% of the water you need comes from moisture in foods, so people who eat mostly fruits and vegetables may not feel the need to drink as much water.
On days when you exercise or spend a lot of time outdoors in hot temperatures, you are going to sweat. That means losing more fluids than the norm. Same is true if you are running a fever or feeling ill. Keep a water bottle on hand and drink more often.
Not to scare you, but it’s also possible to take in too much water. Endurance athletes have experienced a life-threatening condition called hyponatremia which occurs when sodium levels in the blood are abnormally low, causing cells to swell. It’s always best to consult with your doctor, especially if you have health conditions or are taking medications.
The good news is that you likely do not need to rigorously track your water intake throughout the day. The vast majority of people can depend on their sense of thirst to determine whether they are staying adequately hydrated or not.
That’s where we can help.