Monday, March 1, 2010

How Much Water Is Enough?

How much water should you drink a day? Seems like a simple enough question, but the answer is actually different for each person. Drinking the proper amount of water has plenty of health benefits. It cleans toxins out of the body, prevents dehydration and promotes healing processes, to name a few. If you are not drinking enough water it could lead to, excess body fat, poor muscle tone, digestion problems and even water retention. Everyday your body loses water through natural bodily functions such as breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. The average adult loses about 2.2 liters of water a day from these bodily functions. We need to replace our bodies water supply from the foods we eat & beverages that we drink. Our food intake counts for about 20% of fluid intake, so we need to consume about 2 liters (a little more than 8 cups) of water or other beverages a day to replace the lost fluids.
There are some other factors that can affect your water needs. Depending on how active you are, the climate you live in and if your pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Exercise: For a small amount of exercise that makes you sweat you will need to replace about 1.5 - 2.5 cups of water. For longer periods of exercise, such as long distance running, you will need to replace more than that, depending on how much you sweat and what type of activity you are doing. Also, during long periods of exercise it is smart to us a sports drink that contains sodium to help replace fluids. This will help to decrease or eliminate cramping, charlie horses, etc.
Do not use thirst alone as your guide for when to drink. If you become thirsty, it's possible that you are already slightly dehydrated. Keep a water bottle with you through out the day and drink often. Be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.
Click on the "Hydration Calculator" and take the quick 10 question quiz that will give you an estimate of how much water you should be drinking daily.


If you are concerned about your fluid intake you should check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can determine the amount of water that is best for you.

The following sites were used in my research for this post.

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