If you’re like most people, you’ve seen plenty of guidance throughout the years on just how much water you should drink each day. You may have read guidance that says coffee and soda count as water intake, and guidance that says they don’t. You may also have red that you need different amounts of water depending on your age, biological sex and body size. The bottom line is that there’s plenty of conflicting advice out there, so how are you supposed to know what’s true? This guide explains.
Water’s Health Benefits
your body is made mostly of water. In fact, it makes up around half to 70% of your body weight, and you need it to survive. Every part of your body needs it to work properly. When your body gets rid of waste, regulates your temperature, lubricates your joints and protects your tissues, it does so with water’s help.
If you don’t take in enough water, you’ll become dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when there isn’t enough water in your body to perform the functions of living. One of the first signs of dehydration is thirst, followed quickly by a loss of energy – and surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to dehydrate a human body.
But just how much water do you need to keep your body (and by extension, your skin) healthy?
How Much Water Do You Really Need in a Day?
In order for your body to function properly, you need to take in plenty of water. That’s because you lose water when you breathe, sweat or use the bathroom. Some of the water you take in can come from foods, but most of it comes from beverages. Generally speaking, you should make it your mission to drink pure, plain water – that is, water that comes from a bottle or tap that isn’t turned into another type of drink, such as coffee, soda or something else.
As a general rule, women need about 11.5 cups of water a day. Men need around 15.5 cups a day. However, that amount varies based on your body composition (your fat-to-muscle ratio), the climate you live in, your size and your activity level – as well as a number of other factors. If you’re not sure how much water you should drink, you should talk to your doctor. She’ll be able to give you the guidance you need.
Is “8 Glasses a Day” Outdated Advice?
At one point in time, the recommendation was to drink 8 glasses of water a day. However, that advice is now considered outdated and too simplistic. That’s because every individual needs different amounts of water every day; factors like temperature, activity level and body composition can affect how much water you need.
You may need in increase your total fluid intake based on:
- Your level of health
- Whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
Here’s how each of these factors plays a role in the amount of water you need to thrive.
How Exercise Affects How Much Water You Need
When you exercise, your body needs more water to work properly. That’s because when you sweat, your body is releasing not just water, but salt and other minerals as well – and they need to be replenished.
If you exercise regularly, make sure that you’re taking in plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that if you’re exercising for less than an hour, you should take in about 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
If you’ll be exercising for more than an hour, make sure you sip on 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
How Your Environment Affects How Much Water You Need
If you live in a hot and humid climate, your body needs more water to keep itself cool. In fact, your need for water can double if the temperature is over 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). That’s because when it’s hot outside, you sweat more than usual – so make sure that you’re taking in enough fluids to compensate for it.
How Your Level of Health Affects How Much Water You Need
If you’re sick or injured, your body may need more water than usual – and that includes if you have a fever or the flu. In fact, when you’re sick, it’s doubly important to make sure that you stay hydrated: Not only will it help you recover faster, but it will also make sure your body is functioning properly throughout the recovery process.
How Being Pregnant or Nursing Affects How Much Water You Need
When you’re expecting or breastfeeding a baby, your water needs can increase significantly. That’s because your body is working extra hard to support two people at once – and that takes more fluids.
The amount of water you need during pregnancy and nursing depends on a variety of factors, so make sure to talk to your doctor about how much water is right for you. In general, breastfeeding mothers should take in at least 13 cups of fluids every day. Pregnant women may want to shoot for 11 or 12 cups a day.
“But I Hate Drinking Water – So What Else Counts?”
Even if you don’t like the taste of plain water, there are plenty of other ways to make sure your body is getting the fluids it needs.
Other types of liquids – such as milk (including almond milk), juice and sports drinks – count towards your daily total. Similarly, foods with a high water content can help keep you hydrated. Melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and oranges are all great sources of water, too.
How to Tell if You’re Drinking Enough Water
You can generally tell if you’re taking in enough water by gauging your thirst levels. If you rarely feel thirsty, you’re probably good. Additionally, if your urine is colorless or very pale yellow, it seems like you’re taking in enough fluids.
Why Water Matters So Much
Water keeps your body functioning the way it should. It also helps your skin look and feel its best, and promotes a more youthful glow. If your skin doesn’t look the way you think it should, it may be time to talk to your doctor about hydration and skincare – you may be surprised at what you can do to bring moisture back into your skin cells.
Ready to Talk About Hydrating Skin Care in Ann Arbor?
Our Ann Arbor med spa can help you get the look you want, from clear and youthful skin to fat reduction. Call or text us at 734-249-8722 or fill out the form below to get in touch.