How much water do we need to drink per day?
Maybe you’ve heard of the recommendation to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. The truth is, this recommendation is not based on solid evidence. How much water you need really depends on a lot of factors like your physical activity, the climate or the altitude of the area where you live, your diet, your health, and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
When you are exercising, you need to increase your water intake. Two hours before exercising, you need to drink 16 to 20 ounces of liquid and if you’re doing it outside, you’ll need to follow it up with 12 ounces every 15 minutes.
You also need to increase the amount of water you drink if you consume dehydrating foods and drinks like alcohol, coffee, sugary treats, and salty snacks. People who live in the mountains or in areas with humid and hot temperatures may need more water.
There are also instances where 8 glasses might be too much for a person. Eight glasses of liquid might be too much if you have health conditions or medications that cause the body to retain water.
How to Stay Hydrated
Being properly hydrated is not just about how much water you drink. You also need to take into account all drinks and food that contain water. Here are ways to stay hydrated during the day.
1. Drink water at each meal.
Every meal or snack, make sure to drink one glass of water. Water is still the best choice instead of soda, juice, or tea. If you’re aiming for weight loss, it’s better to drink it before you start eating. This will help you control hunger and slow down while eating.
2. Drink before, during, and after exercise.
An hour before exercise, drink 1 to 2 cups of water. Drink 7 to 10 ounces more for every 20-30 minutes of moderate or heavy exercise. You also need to drink after exercising.
3. Drink before you’re thirsty.
Thirst could already signal dehydration. When you’re thirsty, you may get uncomfortable symptoms like agitation or brain fog. Slight dehydration can already affect brain function. To help you remember to drink, take a sip of water before you start any new activity. You can also track how much water you drink with a water bottle.
4. Eat foods with high water content.
The food you eat also helps you stay hydrated. Some tasty foods are up to 95% water, like cucumber. Here are other foods to include to your diet to help with proper hydration:
5. Add flavor.
One common reason why people tend to drink less water than they need is they don’t like the taste. If you’re bored with water, you can make it tasty. You can prepare fruit-infused water by adding fresh fruits like lemons, strawberries, or oranges. You can also add fresh juice to water or cooling flavors like fresh mint leaves and cucumber slices. Coconut water is a great low calorie and low sugar juice for rehydration.
How to Know if You’re Properly Hydrated
An easy way to check your hydration levels is the color of your urine. If your urine has a dark yellow or orange color, you’ll need to drink 1 to 2 glasses of water to rehydrate. Ideally, urine should be pale yellow unless you are taking medications that change the color of your urine like iron supplements.
If you are taking medications like corticosteroids or have health conditions that retain water, it’s best to consult your doctor on how much water you need to drink per day.