How Much Water is Enough Water?

How much water is enough water?  Is there an allotted amount of water we should be drinking every day? Honestly, it depends on who you choose to ask. Some say to go by the 8 X 8 rule, eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, while others will tell you to drink when you’re thirsty. Is there a happy medium?The 8 X 8 method does not have much of a scientific backing, but it is easy to remember. 8 X 8 provides for about 1.9 liters, which isn’t too far from what the Institute of Medicine suggests for adequate intake (AI). The AI of men is approximately 3 liters or 13 cups, and for women 2.2 liters or 9 cups. This may seem like an excess amount, but in reality, it averages to about 4-8 sips of water every hour. Of course, this AI is a baseline example, as there are many influencing factors for each individual such as exercise, environment (temperature and humidity), health conditions, whether a woman is pregnant or breast feeding, and the amount of diuretics one ingests. This statistic is based on the average person, who is awake for roughly 16 hours per day.

About.com has a calculator that gives you a general idea, based on your surroundings and environment, of how much water you should be consuming each day. You can find that here: http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm 

As a general rule, when you feel thirsty, this is your body telling you it is starting to get dehydrated. Some of the symptoms of dehydration are headaches, light headedness, and fatigue. Water is needed, not only to keep yourself from shriveling up like a raisin, but your body needs it to properly digest food, your kidneys and brain need it for proper functioning, and every single cell in your body needs water, as your body is made up of about 60% water.

So can you drink too much? This is a very unlikely scenario, as it would be difficult to drink up to 15 liters of water in one day, especially because you would be ridiculously uncomfortable. In this case, it is better to be over hydrated than dehydrated. You know your body and how much it can handle – pay attention to your own thirst cues and anticipate what the weather will be like and how physical activity will play into your day.

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