Water: How Much Do You Really Need to Drink Every Day?
Water is essential to life, and every person needs the right amount of it to maintain good health and wellbeing. Without enough water, our bodies struggle to function properly, leading to a range of health issues including fatigue, headaches, and even dehydration. On the other hand, drinking too much water can also lead to problems like overhydration, which can cause nausea, diarrhea, and weakness.
So, just how much water do you need to drink each day? For years, the commonly held belief was that we should drink eight glasses of water a day, but this was based on little scientific evidence. According to the Institute of Medicine (IoM), we should actually aim for 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water a day, depending on our body weight, physical activity levels, and climate. This general recommendation applies to most adults who are in good health and live a sedentary lifestyle in temperate conditions.
However, certain situations may require you to drink more water. If you live in a hot climate or you engage in strenuous physical activity, for instance, the American College of Sports Medicine advises you to add 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes of demanding exercise.
It’s important to understand why the human body needs water in such quantities. Water makes up around 60% of our body weight and plays a critical role in various bodily functions, such as carrying oxygen throughout the body via the blood.
Unfortunately, many of us fail to drink the right amount of water, leading to dehydration. Signs of dehydration include a dry mouth, dark urine, dizziness, and fatigue. Meanwhile, overhydration or hyponatremia can cause symptoms like vomiting, swelling, and fatigue.
To increase your water intake, here are some quick tips:
1. Set a goal and reminders: Write down a specific daily water intake goal and reasons why you want to drink more water. Then, set reminders in your phone or calendar to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day.
2. Always carry a water bottle: Having water on hand all the time will help you remember to drink, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle or don’t have access to drinking water at work.
3. Make your water taste nice: If you don’t like the taste or lack of taste of water, consider adding some citrus fruit, like lemon or lime, to give it a more pleasant taste. You can also infuse water with fruits and herbs for added flavor.
4. Use a hydration monitoring app: There are many free apps available that remind you to drink water and allow you to track your daily intake.
5. Eat more water-containing foods: Try to eat hydrating fruits like cucumbers, watermelon, and strawberries, which are over 90% water. You can also opt for fruits like melons, apples, and oranges as snacks to boost your water intake.
In conclusion, drinking the right amount of water every day can greatly benefit your health and wellbeing. Set a goal, carry a water bottle, enhance the taste of your water, and use monitoring apps to ensure that you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to taking care of your body and feeling your best.