Water makes up approximately half of your body weight, but you lose water every day when you urinate, sweat, and breathe. You lose even more water when you are physically active, in extreme weather, or if you have a fever. And when you are sick, vomiting and diarrhea can lead to rapid, dangerous water loss.
Drinking water daily is essential to replenishing all this water that your body is losing naturally. You may have heard the common guidance that adults should drink 64 ounces each day to maintain hydration. Or you may have heard more ambitious sources recommending twice that, suggesting a full gallon of water daily. However, neither of these numbers are exact. Age, weight, physical activity, diet, and overall health also affect your hydration needs.
So, how much water do you really need to drink? Let’s look at the ins and outs of hydration, and how you can calculate your body’s unique hydration needs.
Why Do We Need to Drink Water?
Water is essential to performing many basic bodily functions. It lubricates joints, keeps skin healthy, and helps digestive systems to function. Be it bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells, helping the kidneys filter out waste, or carrying glucose in our blood system, fluid in the body is vital.
However, as we mentioned before, our body loses water in a number of ways — for example, through temperature regulation. As humans, we can regulate our own body temperature by sweating. In hot conditions, perspiring and losing water through the skin helps to cool the body and maintain a stable temperature. But the more water we lose through our sweat, the more we need to replace it. Very quickly, this water loss can lead to dehydration.
Water is essential to our bodies, so even when levels drop only slightly, we can begin to feel consequences such as headaches, lethargy, poor concentration, dizziness, and dry mouth. Over time, dehydration can also cause more serious issues such as constipation, urinary tract infections, and kidney stones. So it’s very important to drink water and maintain healthy levels of hydration.
Factors That Affect Hydration
The average adult body is around 60% water, and you can experience symptoms of dehydration when you lose even 2% of that amount. Several factors can affect how much hydration you need and how well your body stays hydrated.
Diet and Nutrition
Proper nutrition is important for your energy levels and overall health, but did you know that eating well also helps your body stay hydrated?
Salty foods, sodas, energy drinks, and caffeine are dehydrating because they absorb fluids meant for your body. On the flip side, carbs, such as oatmeal and whole-grain pasta, are hydrating. So you will need to compensate with extra fluids if you are on a low-carb diet.
If you have ever had a hangover, you probably know that drinking water is the best way to recover. Since alcohol is considered a diuretic, it forces water through your system before it can be absorbed. Consuming alcohol regularly makes it harder for your body to absorb liquid and stay hydrated, even when sober.
As we get older, our bodies begin having a more challenging time retaining water, so it can take more water to achieve the same hydration levels. Also, as we age, the less likely we are to feel thirsty, meaning dehydration can set in even before you feel parched. With each year that passes, be sure to keep an eye on your water intake and increase your habits where necessary.
At higher altitudes, oxygen levels are lower. Our bodies compensate for this change by breathing more deeply and quickly. As we breathe, we are constantly losing some of our body’s water content by breathing it out as vapor, sometimes up to a cup a day. The higher the altitude, the harder our bodies work to take in the oxygen and the more water we lose.
Urine output also increases at higher altitudes, so the higher up you go, the more you need to drink to keep your body safely hydrated.
While taking a pill or two every day may not seem like a big deal, certain medications can lead to dehydration, from antihistamines to blood pressure meds. If you take medication regularly, check with your doctor or pharmacist to determine if your pills are putting you at added risk for dehydration.
Calculating Your Specific Water Intake
Some ambitious hydrators aim to drink a gallon of water per day. But a gallon of water is usually far more than necessary, and may even be problematic for people with certain preexisting health issues like kidney disease or heart failure.
Typically speaking, adults need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. However, with all the extra factors, everybody has different requirements. Here is a formula to determine the ballpark of how much water you should be drinking based on age and weight:
Step 1: Take your weight and divide it by 2.2.
Step 2: Take that number and multiply it by your age.
Step 3: Next, divide that by 28.3.
Step 4: Your total is how many ounces of water you should drink each day.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
Sometimes, hitting our water goals is easier said than done, even if we aren’t aiming for an ambitious gallon of water. If remembering to drink water and stay hydrated is difficult for you, here are some tips that can help:
- If you do not enjoy the taste of plain water, add a slice of lemon or flavored hydration tablets.
- Always keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day, so hydration is close at hand. Using a refillable one can help reduce costs and is eco-friendly.
- Drink water before, during, and after any workout or outdoor activity.
- Order water when you go out to eat. If you’re having another beverage, still ask for a glass of water on the side.
- Thirst can easily be confused with hunger, so when you are feeling hungry, drink water first. Research has shown that drinking water can help you feel full.
The Science of Water
A daily gallon of water may be excessive, but staying hydrated is still of the utmost importance, anytime and in any season. That’s why our goal at The Science of Water is to help you and your family enjoy pure, refreshing hydration in the convenience of your own home.
We are an authorized dealer of Puronics whole house water filter systems and water softeners. With a Puronics system, you can enjoy bottle-quality water right at home, which is also eco-friendly and cost-effective. Our filtration systems are the same, if not better, than those used at the larger water bottling facilities. We offer reverse osmosis systems and protection based on NASA technology, and selected products have even been tested and certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Subtle but effective, our Puronics drinking water systems can be installed under the kitchen sink, out of sight. They can also be plumbed to your refrigerator’s door dispenser for easy access.
To request your free water test, just fill out our online form. After receiving your results, we will provide you with a free estimate and recommendations to determine which of our top-grade products will work best for your needs.
Ready for all-new levels of hydration and good health? Visit our website today, and let us provide the cleanest, healthiest water for your home!
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