Updated September 24, 2020The human body is composed of nearly 60 percent water. Your body loses water throughout the day, so proper hydration is a necessity in order for you to function properly. The most common recommendation is to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day. However, this suggestion is not backed by science.In actuality, multiple factors affect your recommended daily water intake, including your gender, weight, activity level, and environment. Upon understanding what affects your necessary water intake, you can ensure you are properly hydrated throughout the day.Your Recommended Daily IntakeWhen determining your needed water intake, your age and gender provide the most basic guidelines. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends:Men should consume at least 104 ounces of water per day.Women should consume at least 74 ounces of water per day.Pregnant women should consume at least 80 ounces per day.Breastfeeding women should consume at least 104 ounces per day.The guidelines for children depend on age rather than gender.2 to 3 year-olds should consume 16 to 32 ounces of water per day.4 to 8 year-olds should consume 40 ounces of water per day.9 to 13 year-olds should consume 56 to 64 ounces of water per day.14 to 18 year-olds should consume 64 to 88 ounces of water per day.Other Factors Affecting Your Recommended Water IntakeWater intake is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. While there is a basic guideline, various other factors go into your needed water intake, including your weight, activity level, and health status.WeightBodyweight affects the amount of water your body needs per day, similar to how someone weighing 135 pounds versus someone who weighs 200 pounds has different needed calorie intakes. Ideally, you should drink between half an ounce to 1 ounce of water per pound daily. This variation is based on the other factors such as the climate you live in, your activity level, and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.Activity LevelIf you’re more active, you’ll need more fluids to make up for water loss through sweat. When you exercise, you should drink an additional 1.5 cups to 3 cups of water per day on top of your average intake.ClimateIf you live in a hot and humid climate, you’re likely to sweat and should consume more fluids to compensate for the loss of water. Similarly, if you live at a high elevation where it is drier, you will need more fluid intake to compensate for the dryness.IllnessWhen vomiting and losing excess fluids due to a cold, compensate by consuming additional fluids. To help keep your sodium levels stable, you can supplement by drinking sports drinks, electrolyte-enhanced waters, or milk.If you have health issues including thyroid diseases, kidney, or heart problems, or are on any medications that may cause water retention, it’s possible to drink too much water. Discuss your water intake with your doctor and set a limit so you can stay safe.Benefits of Drinking WaterIn order to function properly, the human body needs fluids as it’s primarily composed of water. Water regulates body temperature, protects your organs and bodily tissues, and keeps skin healthy. It also carries oxygen to the cells throughout your body and balances electrolytes and sodium in your blood.Consuming enough water also advances weight loss as it boosts your metabolism and can lower appetite. A glass or two of water before meals helps you feel full, causing you to eat less.Drinking water helps balance your heartbeat and normalize your blood pressure. Additionally, it lubricates joints and spinal cartilage, preventing potential joint pain and protecting your spine.Water also flushes toxins from your body in the form of sweat and urine. Consistent and sufficient water consumption also leads to a decreased risk of UTIs, constipation, kidney stones, urinary cancers, heart disease, and stroke.Your brain relies on healthy water consumption to perform well. Even mild dehydration can reduce energy, concentration, mood, and memory.Hydration From FoodEverything your body consumes contains some amount of fluid and contributes to your daily water intake. In fact, a 2005 study found the average American receives roughly 20 percent of their daily water intake through food. Foods such as iceberg lettuce, strawberries, and watermelon supply both hydration and vitamins for your body.Sodas, juice, and smoothies are hydrating, though they’re also high in calories and cause excess sugar consumption, putting you at risk for diseases including diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease. In particular, while sports drinks are thirst-quenching and provide maximum hydration, they are typically filled with sugar.While both coffee and tea are temporarily hydrating, they contain caffeine, causing you to use the restroom excessively and lose water. Thus, you will need to drink more to recoup the loss.Signs of DehydrationIf you are not meeting your body’s needed fluid intake, it will begin giving clear signs you should be aware of, including:HeadacheFatigueWeak or aching musclesDry mouth, skin, and lipsBad breathDark or discolored urineConfusionPoor moodDehydration is not to be taken lightly and you should steadily rehydrate so as to not shock your body. In cases of extreme dehydration, contact a medical professional or go to the emergency room immediately.How To Increase Your Water IntakeIf you’re struggling to adequately hydrate during the day, take simple steps, such as drinking water before meals or eating foods with high moisture content.Keep A Water Bottle With YouHaving a water bottle at your side makes it easier to drink water throughout the day. The visual reminder and constant access to water are easier than having to get up for a drink every time you remember you’re thirsty.Instead of using plastic water bottles, you should consider purchasing a reusable one since they are inexpensive and better for the environment. Some bottles are insulated and keep your water cool for hours.Have An Intake GoalOnce you know how much water you need in a day, start creating goals to consume a specific amount of water by a certain time. Try making a SMART goal, one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, you can have a goal to finish your 21-ounce water bottle by noon or to have 5 glasses of water by 3 p.m. The goals should be attainable and clear.Additionally, you can try downloading a mobile app to track your intake and hold you accountable. Water trackers are an easy way to set reminders and stay hydrated.Drink A Glass Of Water With Or Before MealsA simple way to have more water is to make a habit of drinking an 8-ounce glass of water before every meal. If you eat 3 meals a day, you get an additional 24 ounces of water per day. Not only do you increase your water consumption, but water helps you feel fuller and eat less, as thirst is often mistaken for hunger.Buy A Water FilterWhile tap water is generally okay to drink, a filter provides peace of mind about the quality of your water and improves the taste and smell. Filters are accessible in an array of price ranges, and they are available in simple water jugs or entire filtration systems for your home’s plumbing.Water filters are both cheaper and better for the environment than stocking up on bottled water. They can last for several months; if you run out of bottled water, you have to go to the store and constantly purchase more.Keeping water readily available will encourage you to consume it more.Try Flavored or Sparkling WaterSome people may struggle to drink water throughout the day because they simply find it bland. Thankfully, switching to flavored water can ease this issue. Try using a few calorie-free flavor drops to give your plain water a more exciting taste, though keep in mind that they may contain artificial sweeteners.If you’re hoping for a more natural approach to flavored water, add a squeeze of lemon or infuse your water using cucumbers, strawberries, or mint. While you can always just drop these fruits straight into your glass or water bottle, infusion bottles are easy to find, relatively inexpensive, and convenient.If you’re longing for the taste or texture of soda without the high sugar, try sparkling water. It comes in fruity or even plain flavors. While most sparkling waters are not quite as sweet as soda, they are a good alternative and increase your water intake.Eat Your Water An easy way to increase your daily water intake is to begin incorporating food with high water content into your diet. All foods contain water to some extent, but the most moisture-rich choices include brothy soups, cucumbers, grapefruit, and zucchini. These foods not only improve your fluid intake but provide vitamins and minerals.FAQsCan I drink too much water?While rare, it is possible to over-consume fluids, the medical term being “hyponatremia.” An excess of fluids dilutes the electrolytes in your blood and causes your body’s sodium levels to decrease. As a result, you may feel fatigued, nauseous, have a headache, muscle spasms or cramps, or seizures.Furthermore, if you have specific health conditions, including thyroid disease, kidney, liver, or heart problems, or take certain medications, it’s important not to drink water in excess. In either case, it’s important to contact your doctor for further medical evaluation and professional care.What drinks are the most hydrating?By far, water is the most hydrating beverage and your best option as it’s readily available and free. The following options for hydrating drinks include milk, infused water, natural fruit juice, and coconut water, all of which contain vitamins and minerals.Does drinking water help you lose weight?When paired with a healthy diet and exercise, water consumption can aid weight loss. Staying hydrated temporarily boosts your metabolism, and drinking water before meals can reduce appetite, in turn lowering your calorie intake.Can you detox by drinking water?Detox water is water infused with fruits, vegetables, or herbs. Some believe these added ingredients can help flush your body of toxins, balance pH, aid weight loss, and improve your energy and complexion. However, this claim has no scientific backing.While infused water is a healthy drink, it’s no better than plain water. The tasty flavors of fresh herbs or fruits may lead people to drink more water than they normally would, thus reaping the benefits of water and believing the infused water and weight loss are related.How do I know I’m drinking enough water?The best indicator of good hydration is the color of your urine. A well-hydrated individual will have pale yellow or clear-colored urine. If your urine is dark or discolored, you are possibly dehydrated and should increase your fluid intake. Additionally, if you’re drinking enough water, you will rarely feel thirsty throughout the day.ConclusionYour needed water intake is individualized based on your age, weight, gender, and environment. If you’re unsure how much water you should consume, a doctor can help.Hydration is key to the body functioning properly. As the human body is primarily water, both your physical and mental health benefit from proper hydration. If you’re trying to drink more water, eat foods with high water content, and make SMART goals to boost your consumption.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.