How much water should I really be drinking?

It’s summertime, and hot outside. How much water should a person drink to remain hydrated and healthy? Water makes up 60% of your body weight. It flushes out toxins from vital organs, and carries nutrients to your cells. Lack of water can lead to dehydration; even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

When you exercise, or live in a hot climate, your body is going to produce more sweat. Therefore, your body is going to become dehydrated quicker. Although you gain water through food as well as sports drinks, water really is the best way to hydrate. Sports drinks contain sugar that won’t hydrate you as quickly as water. Soda contains a lot of sodium and the carbonation actually makes you thirstier.

Everyone has heard they need to drink 8, 8-ounce (1.9 liters) glasses of water a day. That is a good start. However, it varies depending on many factors including your health, how active you are, and where you live. 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.

So how much should I drink?  According to the Institute of Medicine a healthy adult living in a mild climate determined that an adequate intake for men is about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The adequate intake for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. That is close to the what we have all heard before 8, 8-ounce glasses. That is easy to remember.

Easy ways to remember to drink water are carry around a water bottle, also fill a gallon jug with water. Mark the jug with a marker for goals to drink throughout the day, for example, 8am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm or by lunch, by work break, after workout. Whatever motivates you. Only you know what works for you. Just drink your water, stay hydrated and be healthy!