The body is about 60% water, give or take. We’re constantly losing water from our bodies, primarily through urine and sweat. You also lose more water when it’s hot outside and/or when you are exercising.
It’s not wise to rely solely on thirst to guide your water intake. Nor should quenching your thirst be a measure of whether you’ve drunk enough. How much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. Some popular theories on how much you should be taking in include:
- The 8×8 rule: drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day
- Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.08; the result is your requirement in eight-ounce cups.
- The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.
- Our pharmacists recommend drinking at least 2L of water each day to stay healthy. More is better!
How can you tell if you’re getting enough fluids during the day? You can tell by checking your urine color and output. If you’re urinating every two to four hours, the output is light-colored, and there’s significant volume, then you’re probably well-hydrated.
Getting your 2L in…
Coffee, tea, fruit juices, even sweetened beverages provide your body with water — although we wouldn’t recommend sugary beverages for hydration purposes or much of anything, really. Even food counts towards your hydrating. About 20 percent of the average person’s water intake comes from food, according to the IOM, especially from foods with high water content, like watermelon, and cucumbers.
Not a huge fan of drinking plain water? Consider flavoring it with slices of citrus fruit or a splash of 100% fruit juice. Or, experiment with the water’s temperature—see whether you like it better cold from the fridge, chilled over ice, or at room temperature.