Authored by Revere Health

How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?

September 12, 2016 | Sports Fitness and Physical Therapy

Drink More Water for Clear, Healthy Urine

When you think of what is inside your body, you probably think of your bones, heart and other major organs. You may not immediately think of water as an essential part of your body system, but water makes up about 60 percent of your totally body weight, making it the body’s principal component.

Every system, organ and cell in the body needs water to function properly. Water flushes toxins out of major organs, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and carries nutrients to your cells. According the a study done at the The University of Tennessee, thirst is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. The brain is approximately 85 percent water and proper brain function requires sufficient water. Even a mere 2% drop in body water can result in headaches, fuzzy short-term memory and difficulty focusing.

How much should I drink?

You know that staying hydrated is important, but how much water do you really need? You’ve probably heard about the “8 glasses a day” rule, but is that enough? While how much water an individual needs daily can vary greatly, the Mayo Clinic has given some basic guidelines.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that for an average man living in a temperate climate the adequate intake is about 13 cups (3 liters) of water daily, and 9 cups (2.2 liters) for women. For reference, the standard water bottle is half a liter. To follow the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions, the average man needs to drink the equivalent of at least 6 water bottles a day and the average woman needs to drink around 5 bottles.

There are many factors, however, that can increase how much water your body needs to function properly. If you live in a hot environment or at a high elevation, workout regularly or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to drink more water.

How to stay hydrated

By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. About 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. If you are looking for ways to keep your body hydrated trying following these tips:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times. This will help you to remember to drink often and be more aware of your thirst levels.
  • Spice it up! Add cucumbers, strawberries, mint, blueberries or other natural ingredients to your water for additional flavor.
  • Drink before, after and during workouts.
  • Incorporate more water rich foods such as lettuce, watermelon, bell peppers and cucumbers into your diet.
  • Drink when you feel hungry. A recent study showed that in 37% of Americans, “the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.”
  • Plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day when possible.  
  • Make sure to drink lots of water after eating or drinking foods that dehydrate you such as alcohol and protein.
  • Check the color of your urine. If your urine is a pale yellow color then you are getting the proper amount of water, but if it is very dark yellow or amber colored, you need to increase your water consumption.

Proper hydration is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems such as heat injury, seizures and kidney failure. Extreme dehydration can lead to death. If you or someone you know experiences extreme dehydration, seek medical attention immediately.

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The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.