Most of us know it’s important to drink plenty of water when it’s hot outside or when we’re exercising. But staying hydrated every day is necessary, no matter the weather or how much you’re working out.
Unfortunately, many of us aren’t getting enough fluids to drink for our bodies to function correctly. In fact, water is an essential nutrient that helps us survive. Without it, we could not live for more than a few days.
Of course, water quenches our thirst, but it also regulates our body temperature, helps with digestion, removes harmful waste through your urine, sweat, and poop, and carries nutrients in your blood to your organs. It also helps lubricate your joints and prevents constipation.
But how much water should you drink per day? For most people, their normal eating and drinking habits will help them meet their body’s water needs. Simply put, if you drink fluids when you get thirsty and eat food when you get hungry, you’re probably getting enough water.
All beverages, including tea, coffee, juice, and milk, have water. But you should remember that calorie-free drinks, especially water, are the better choice when it comes to hydration. High-calorie drinks can lead to weight gain and inflammation, which can increase your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Fun fact: Vegetables like cucumber, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and zucchini also contain more than 90% water. Melons like cantaloupe and watermelon have some of the highest water content, at more than 90 percent.
It’s important to remember that some people may need to drink more water than others. For example, people living in hot, dry areas might need to drink more water to replace the fluids lost through sweat.
Also, if you’re physically active, you should increase your water intake to stay hydrated. This is especially important if you’re working out or moving around in hot weather. And some people with certain infections or medical conditions (e.g., IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) that cause diarrhea or vomiting may also need to drink more water.
The general rule is to take your weight in pounds and divide the number in half. This is about how many ounces of water you should drink daily. For example, a person who weighs 175 lbs should drink about 87 ounces or 2.5 liters of water daily. This is about four to five, 20-ounce bottles of water daily.
A good way to tell if you’re getting enough water is to look at your pee. If the color of your pee is clear or pale yellow, you’re getting enough water. If the color of your pee is dark yellow or brown, it may be a sign that you need to drink more water.
Other signs that you may need to drink more water would be that you’re peeing less or your pee smells bad. You could also be thirsty and have a dry mouth or lips. Some people also have headaches, dizziness, dry skin, and muscle cramps.