Do you REALLY need to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day?

Most people own at least one water bottle that they carry around with them all day, hoping it will motivate them to drink their daily quota of water. Companies like S`well, SIGG, CamelBak, and Nalgene are all multi-million dollar companies because most people realize that they need to be drinking more water. Why is water so important? How much water does a person really need to drink on a daily basis? How can you tell if you are drinking enough?

On average, humans can survive 7 days without water. Water is essential for metabolism, digestion, temperature regulation, removal of toxins and transporting nutrients in the body. Most recommendations suggest adults drink 8 glasses of water a day. Where did that number even come from? Back in 1945, it was suggested that the average healthy person needs 1 ml of water per calorie of energy intake. If the average person eats between 1900 and 2200 calories, that equals 1.9-2.2 liters of water, or roughly 8 glasses a day. Unfortunately, current research proves it’s really not that simple, there are a number of factors that play into our daily water intake. Body weight, environmental temperatures, physical activity levels, medications, and health status can all factor into our daily fluid requirements. Therefore, the 8 glasses a day rule doesn’t even apply to the majority of people.

Currently there is no strict numerical guideline on how much water to drink; suggestions are as vague as “drink when you are thirsty.” However, statistics show most people still don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. Most adults drink a cup or two of coffee/ tea, a caffeinated soda drink, a cup of juice, and possibly a beer or glass of wine on a daily basis. Do any of these count towards your daily water intake? They must, right?

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They do count, but because some of the above are diuretics, they are not your best choice since they can actually lead to dehydration, especially if they are your main sources of fluid. If there are no guidelines, how is the average Joe supposed to know if they are getting enough water? A quick and easy test is to check the color of your urine. If it is dark yellow with a strong odor, you are likely not drinking enough water. Other common symptoms include: constipation, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth and/or dry skin. Overall, be sure to drink enough fluids throughout the day, before these symptoms kick  in. Easier said then done for most, read the tips below if you struggle with drinking enough water

Some tips for staying well hydrated are:
  • Be smart, if you are playing in a soccer tournament in the middle of summer, make sure you are drinking lots of extra fluids. Both exercise and heat will make you sweat, which means you will need to re-hydrate more than usual;
  • Try to drink a glass of water with every meal;
  • Don`t rely on beverages like coffee, tea and soda to be your primary source of fluid. You don’t need to give up your coffee in the A.M. or a glass of wine at night. Just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day as well;
  • If you really hate water, try adding fruit to give it more of a taste. Reusable water bottles like Bobble have a separate compartment for fresh fruit to flavor your water naturally;
  • Get a reusable water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day;
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies. Roughly 20% of your daily water intake can come from food. Most fruits and veggies consist of anywhere from 60-90% water. Even foods like bread are 36% water (if not toasted). So eating a healthy diet makes reaching your daily fluid requirements even easier.