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How Much Water Should I Drink Every Day?

How Much Water Should I Drink Every Day?

It’s so important to drink water—but you already know that! It’s one of the most frequently cited pieces of advice you’re likely to hear. Everyone from doctors to movie stars to health gurus touts the amazing benefits of drinking plenty of water. But how much is enough? Today’s post on our blog here at Monterey Park Hospital offers general guidelines for your daily water consumption, as well as information about why drinking water is so important.

Why Is Drinking Water Important?

Here are seven of the biggest benefits offered by drinking water:

  1. Drinking water gives you energy. Many people turn to coffee or energy drinks when they need an energy spike—but they might consider sipping water instead! Dehydration has an effect of making you feel fatigued and depleted. With the proper levels of water, your heart will work more efficiently. Water can also help oxygen and nutrients move better through your bloodstream. You’ll feel more energetic and awake as a result!
  2. Drinking water helps your skin glow. Drink water to flush out toxins in your skin for a glowing fresh look and to smooth out the appearance of wrinkles and deep lines.
  3. Drinking water can help you lose or maintain weight. How many times have you felt like you were hungry, only to drink a glass of water and discover your hunger was gone? Drinking water is key to staying full and satiated. Instead of drinking soda or other caloric beverages with no nutritional value, sip on water throughout the day. Add infusions such as slices of oranges or lemons with raspberries and other fresh fruits and vegetables for taste. Drink a glass of water before each meal to help you feel more full. If you drink cold water, your metabolism will get a boost as it is forced to warm the water and your body temperature.
  4. Drinking water lowers your stress levels. Did you know that as much as 80% of your brain tissue is made up of water? Stress can be a result of dehydration.
  5. Drinking water gives you improved muscle tone. Your muscles and joints will thank you for staying hydrated. Drinking water leads to lubrication in your joints and less muscle cramping, which equals better workouts!
  6. Drinking water aids digestion. Drinking water keeps your digestive system running smoothly and helps you stay regular.

How Much Water Should I Be Drinking Every Day?

Now you know how important drinking water is. So how much water should you be drinking to get all of these benefits? Water is about 60% of your weight. All systems in your body require water to function properly. Through urine and perspiration, and even breathing, your body is always losing water. It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking the proper amount of water. If you feel thirsty, this means your body is already slightly dehydrated.

Of course, most people are familiar with the old advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This translates to about 1.9 liters. The “8 by 8 rule” is popular because it is easy to remember. But is it accurate? Close enough, but if anything, this number might be a little low. According to the Institute of Medicine, men should try to hit an “adequate intake” of 13 cups, or 3 liters, of water daily. Women should aim for an adequate intake of 9 cups or 2.2 liters. Remember that all fluids including milk, juice, and tea do count toward your adequate intake goal.

Factors that Affect Water Intake

If you are sick, exercising, pregnant, breastfeeding, or in a hot environment, you will need to account for those factors and increase your fluid intake.

Here are some of the ways that you should be aware of adjusting your water intake:

  • If you are sick, with symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, your body will dehydrate more quickly. Other health conditions also require an emphasis on hydration: These health conditions include kidney diseases, liver diseases, adrenal diseases, bladder infections, and urinary tract stones. Talk to your doctor about your hydration needs.
  • If you are exercising or working hard—anything that makes you perspire—you should add an additional 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water or more for a long session. If you are exercising intensely for a long period of time, it’s a good idea to seek out a sports drink with sodium to help your body replenish the sodium lost when you sweat. This also lowers your risk of hyponatremia. Keep drinking after your workout is through.
  • If you are in a hot environment, including a heated house, replenish your body with added water. High altitudes also require additional hydration considerations; your body will be working harder to breath, which actually utilizes your body’s water stores.
  • If you are pregnant, you should drink at least 2.3 liters—or 10 cups—of fluid every day.
  • If you are breastfeeding, you need a lot of water to stay hydrated. The Institute of Medicine states that pregnant women should try to drink about 3.1 liters—or 13 cups—of fluid every day.

If you have questions about your recommended daily water intake, speak with your doctor. As always, keep checking back for more information and helpful tips on health and wellness here at the Monterey Park Hospital blog!

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.