The human body is comprised of about 60-66% water, and nearly every chemical reaction in the body requires water. Because the body is constantly losing water, primarily via sweat, urine, and bowel movements, it is integral to replenish the body’s water supply. Failing to hydrate can result in bloating, dehydration, and poor organ function.
There are different theories for how much water people should drink every day. A lot of people recommend the 8×8 rule, meaning you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to remain hydrated. This is an estimate and is not necessarily accurate because it does not 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 mildly dehydrated without even realizing it. This can occur after exercising or being in a hot and humid environment. Several studies found 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 poor mental performance, impaired mood, and frequent headaches.
A person’s weight is a variable when it comes to how much water he or she should be drinking. A simple way to determine the amount of water a person should drink is by drinking half of the body weight in ounces of water. If a person weighs 150 pounds and divides that by two to get 75, he or she should be drinking 75 ounces of water every day.
Exercise habits can also dictate if a person should drink more or less water. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 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.