9/4/12

Finding Your Daily Dose: Just How Much Water Should You Drink in a Day?


It’s a classic question that applies to both men and women of all ages. Just how much water do we need to consume on a daily basis? Unfortunately, there is no easy set-in-stone answer that applies to all people due to varying lifestyles and body sizes and types.

It helps to understand why water is so important to your body. Approximately 60% of the body’s total weight is made up of water. Water carries out a number of functions in the body including bringing nutrients to your cells, flushing toxins out of the organs you need to survive and creating a moist environment in your nose, ear and throat. If you don’t have enough water in your body, you can become dehydrated and will feel both tired and drained. Signs of dehydration, even on a mild scale, include dry mouth, problems concentrating, fatigue, an elevated heart rate, dizziness and headache.

Water leaves the body everyday through activities including breathing, sweating and going to the bathroom. You need to restore the body’s water supply every day for optimal functioning. If it is hot out and you’re sweating more, or if you are leading an active lifestyle and work out frequently, you will need to consume more water since your body loses it at a faster rate.
As a general guideline according to the Institute of Medicine, an average recommendation for men is 13 cups or 3 liters a day, and the recommendation for women is roughly 9 cups or 2.2 liters a day. This is just a general guideline to follow. You can also utilize the rule of drinking an ounce for every .5 pounds that you weigh, which means someone who weighs 100 pounds would need approximately 50 ounces of water a day.

The confusion comes in because most people do not know that the source of water can come from any type of beverages including coffee, tea or water and the majority of the foods you consume also have high water content. Foods that are primarily water include lettuce, watermelon, broccoli, grapefruit, carrots, yogurt and apples.

Keep in mind that if you are working out you should consume adequate amounts of water before, during and after the workout. Listen to your body’s signals to determine how often and how much water to drink and you should be just fine and won’t have to concern yourself with worries of dehydration.

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