The human body is made up of about 60-66% water, and water is required for nearly every chemical reaction in the body. The body is always losing water via sweat, urine, and bowel movements, so it is important to continuously replenish the body’s water supply. Failing to hydrate can result in bloating, dehydration, and poor organ function.
People have different rules when it comes to how much water one should drink a day. Some people believe in the the 8×8 rule, meaning you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to keep yourself hydrated. This rough estimate works for some, but it is not necessarily accurate because it doesn’t consider a person’s weight or physical activity.
Important Note: Drinking sodas, juices, coffee, alcohol, teas, or other sugary beverages does not count as drinking water. If anything, these drinks work to dehydrate the body!
People can be partially dehydrated without even knowing it. This can occur after exercising or being in a hot and humid environment. Research has indicated that exercise can cause fluid loss of 1-3% body weight. These numbers may seem insignificant, but even 1% of body weight is a significant amount. This can lead to frequent headaches, poor mental performance, or impaired mood.
Your weight is a variable when it comes to how much water you should be drinking. An easy way to determine the amount of water you should drink is by drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds and divide that by two to get 75, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water each day.
Exercise habits can also dictate if a person should drink more or less water. According to a recent study, a person should drink 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercise. When you factor in physical activity, there is another calculation to consider. Take the number of minutes of exercise divided by 30 and multiply that by 12 ounces. Add that answer to half your body weight. That’s how much water you should drink a day if you are exercising.
There are a few factors to consider when it comes to being sufficiently hydrated. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should increase their water intake by about 24-32 ounces, depending on their weight.
The body is good at letting you know when it is time to drink water. Some people, however, may ignore the signs of thirst and continue through the day without hydrating. Don’t do this! Invest in a reusable water bottle and consistently fill it up every single time it is empty. Drink throughout the day to improve your mood, maintain alertness, and avoid water retention.