It is said that you should aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), men should drink at least 101 ounces of water per day, which is a little under 13 cups. At the same time, women should drink at least 74 ounces, which is a bit over 9 cups. Still, the answer to exactly how much water you should drink isn’t so simple.
The eight-glasses rule is a good start, but it isn’t based on robust or well-researched information. The human body weight is made up of 60 percent of water. Every system in your body requires water to function. Your recommended intake of water is based on your sex, age, activity level, and others, such as if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. So it can be said that the water requirement is individualized. For most processes your body goes through in a day, water is the crucial element. Drinking water replenishes your stores; for your body and its organs to function appropriately, enough water is required.
Let us have a look at the Benefits of drinking water:
- keeps your body temperature within a healthy range
- cushions and lubricates your joints
- protects your spine and other tissues
- helps you eliminate waste through urine, sweat, and bowel movements
- Drinking enough water helps to keep your skin looking healthy. When you drink plenty of water, you keep it healthy and hydrated.
- It is an excellent tool for managing your weight as it contains zero calories.
Adult Recommended Requirement of Water:
The IOM recommendation for adults ages 19 and older is around 131 ounces for men and 95 ounces for women. This recommendation refers to the overall fluid intake every day. It also includes anything you eat or drink containing water, like fruits or vegetables. From beverages, men should get around 13 cups, and for women, it’s 9 cups.
Recommendations for kids have a lot to do with the increasing age. Girls and boys between 4 and 8 years old are recommended to drink 40 ounces per day or 5 cups. This amount increases to 56–64 ounces, or 7–8 cups, when they reach 9 to 13 years of age. For ages 14 to 18, the water intake should be 64–88 ounces or 8–11 cups.
Women of reproductive age
For pregnant or breastfeeding women, the recommendations change. Pregnant women of all ages are recommended to aim to get 80 ounces or ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day. For Breastfeeding women, their total water intake is 104 ounces or 13 cups. If you live in a hot climate, exercise often, or have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, your water requirement will change accordingly. If you do exercise, then it is recommended to add 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water each day. You may need to add even more if you work out for longer than an hour. If you live at an elevation higher than 8,200 feet above sea level or in a hot climate, you may need to drink more. When you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, your body loses more fluids than usual, so there is a requirement to drink more water. Your doctor may even suggest taking drinks with electrolytes to keep your electrolyte balance more stable.
Excess and little intake of water both can lead to severe health illnesses. Let us discuss some of the problems:
Your body is regularly using and losing fluids through actions like sweating and urinating. Dehydration happens when your body loses more water or liquid than it takes in. Symptoms of dehydration can include extreme thirst or feeling fatigued. The person will not urinate as frequently, or the urine is dark. In children, dehydration may lead to a dry mouth and tongue, a lack of tears while crying, and fewer wet diapers than usual.
Dehydration may cause:
- confusion or unclear thinking
- mood changes
- kidney stone formation
- Mild dehydration may be treated by drinking more water and other fluids.
For severe dehydration, you may need treatment at the hospital. Your doctor will likely give you intravenous (IV) fluids and salts until the symptoms go away.
Drinking too much water may be lethal to your health as well. The extra water can dilute the electrolytes in your blood. Drinking too much water will cause your sodium levels to decrease and can lead to hypernatremia.
Symptoms of hypernatremia include:
- muscle spasms, cramps, or weakness
- nausea or vomiting
Water intoxication hyponatremia is uncommon. People with a smaller build and children, and active people, like marathon runners, are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
If you’re at risk due to drinking large quantities of water for exercise, consider drinking a sports drink that contains sodium and other electrolytes to help replenish the electrolytes you lose through sweating. Staying hydrated goes beyond just the water you drink. Foods make up around 20 percent of your total fluid requirements each day. Along with drinking your 9 to 13 daily cups of water, try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Some foods with high water content include:
- green peppers
Try to carry a water bottle wherever you go, like around the office, at the gym, and on road trips. Focus on fluids. You don’t have to drink plain water to meet your hydration needs. Other good sources of fluid include milk, tea, and broth. Try to Skip sugary drinks like soda, juice, and alcohol, and choose water whenever possible. Add some flair to your water by squeezing in fresh lemon or lime juice. If you’re working out hard, consider drinking a sports drink with electrolytes to help replace the ones you lose through sweating. Many people say that if you don’t stay hydrated throughout the day, your energy levels and brain function start to suffer. And there are plenty of studies to prove this.
Some of the common problems seen were:
- impaired mood and concentration
- increased the frequency of headaches
- mild dehydration caused by exercise or heat can harm many other aspects of brain function
Sometimes when you are feeling hungry, it is water or fluid that your body requires. Always stay hydrated. Consume fruits and vegetables that contain the proper amount of liquid. Never go for overconsumption as it is dangerous for health. If you are facing any health problems related to kidney or thyroid issues, then the requirement will change accordingly. Drinking the proper amount of water has a lot of physical and mental health benefits. It keeps you fit and mentally active. The amount lost by the body has to be replenished back each day.
For the majority of people, there probably isn’t any need to worry about water intake. The thirst instinct is very reliable. Certain circumstances may call for increased water intake. The most important one may be during times of increased sweating. It includes exercise and hot weather, especially in a dry climate. If you’re sweating a lot, make sure to replenish the lost fluid with water. Athletes doing very long, intense exercises may also need to replenish electrolytes along with water. Your water needs also increases during breastfeeding, as well as in several states, like vomiting and diarrhea.
Furthermore, older people may need to consciously watch their water intake because the thirst mechanisms can start to malfunction in old age. No one can tell you exactly how much water you need. It depends on the individual. Some people may function better with more water than usual, while others only result in more frequent trips to the bathroom. When you’re thirsty, drink. If you’re not feeling thirsty anymore, stop. During high heat and exercise, make sure to drink enough to compensate for the lost fluids. That’s it!