The Importance of Hydration: I Should Drink HOW MUCH Water?

Learn why our bodies need water and some tips to up your daily water intake.

 

You’ve probably heard the recommendation that you should drink eight glasses of water a day, and you may be unsure whether or not this is actually necessary for your health. Truth is, while this is a great recommendation to get your water intake, the actual amount that you need isn’t exactly one-size-fits-all; it depends on each person, as well as many additional factors!

 

It’s no surprise to anyone to discover that humans need water to live. It’s just figuring out exactly how much we need to hydrate ourselves that can get tricky. In MaryRuth’s Art of Health for Busy People, as well as in her book Liquids Till Lunch, it’s recommended to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. Why? Let’s get into it!


Why water is important for health

Our body weight is about 55% to 75% water (depending on age), and every tissue, organ, and cell in your body depends on water to properly function. Needless to say, the body depends on water to survive!


Below are just a few of the bodily functions that water is vital for.

 

  • Thermoregulation
  • Maintenance of vascular volume
  • Transporting nutrients throughout the body
  • Removal of waste from the body

 

Besides what the body depends on water for, there are also additional possible benefits to being adequately hydrated!

 

  • Increased skin hydration and reduced skin dryness
  • Improved visual attention, fine motor skills, and short-term memory

 

Although we know how important it is to be hydrated and drink enough water, the complex mechanisms of achieving homeostasis are still not fully understood.

 

How to calculate your water intake needs

By following the basic recommendation of drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water, calculating your hydration needs should be fairly simple. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water per day. Someone who weighs 140 pounds should drink 70 ounces of water per day.

 

But there are times that you may need more water, as well.

 

Factors such as excessive sweating due to high heat and/or exercise, urination, diarrhea, taking diuretic medications, and more can contribute to dehydration and require additional water intake.

 

Listen to your body, and learn to know when it may need extra hydration!

 

Other ways to get water

You don’t have to get all of your water intake simply by just drinking plain water! 

 

For those living in the United States, it is estimated that about 22% of water comes from our food intake.  Most of this is thanks to the fruits and vegetables that we eat.

 

Below are some foods that have anywhere from 70% up to 99% water content.

 

2. Foods with high water content

 

Other than drinking water and eating water-rich foods, you can also drink other beverages to help with your hydration as well! Though water is ultimately the best liquid to consume for hydration, you can incorporate other liquids into your diet, too.


Despite its reputation, coffee isn’t as dehydrating as people have said. As long as you aren’t adding a lot of sweeteners or dairy to your coffee or tea to make them less healthy, they can help you reach your hydration goals each day.


Any liquid that you can drink will help hydrate you. The bottom line is, you want to make sure that you aren’t consuming too many additional calories or sugars as you hydrate. Make sure to eat and drink nutrient-rich items while having a balanced diet.


Tips for water intake

Do you have trouble getting sufficient water intake? There are a few tips that you can follow to make this process easier! Once your body is used to getting enough hydration, it should get easier for you to want to drink more and get half of your body weight in ounces of water.


Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up

By drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up, you already start hydrating your body after your fast during sleep. Though there are many claims that drinking a glass as soon as you wake up has additional health benefits, there isn’t enough evidence to quite back up these statements. But it is still a good idea to start drinking your water at the top of your day to remind yourself to get drinking for the entire day!


Carry a water bottle around with you

By having your own personal water bottle and bringing it with you where you go, it’ll be a constant reminder to drink up! You also won’t have to worry about being somewhere that doesn’t have easily accessible water when you get thirsty.


Give yourself a reward system

If you have trouble drinking enough water, find a way to keep track of your water intake and reward yourself at the end of the day if you hit your goal. This will get you on the right track to remember to drink your water, and eventually, you won’t even need your reward to remember.

 

Drink up!

No matter how you get your water and what works for you to get your daily recommended intake in, just know that you are doing something good for your body to help you move forward and be healthy every day. And what feels better than that?!

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