How Much Water Do You Really Need?

I am sure that you have heard that you need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But is that true?! Is there is something special about 8 glasses? Not 6 or 9 glasses a day, but 8. Who came up with that recommendation anyway?

That is what I want to talk about today ... what your body actually needs to keep you hydrated. Your body is made up of ~60% water. For babies, their body composition is about 75% water and decreases to 65% by their first birth day. Your body relies on this water and it is necessary for your survival.

Water does lots of things for you ... 

  • Utilized by the brain to manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters. 
  • Forms saliva to help you digest your food.
  • Keeps your mucousal membranes moist (eyes, nose, throat).
  • Helps to regulate your body temperature through your breathing and sweating.
  • Helps to rid your body of waste, through your urine. 
  • Lubricates your joints.
  • Helps deliver oxygen all over your body.

This list can keep going. As you can see this element is vital to your body working appropriately. Did you know that women actually have less water in their bodies compared with men. People who have more fatty tissue have less water in their bodies compared to their less fat counter parts. Now does this mean that we need differing amounts of water per day? YES! It does ... unfortunately we do not all need the same amount of water per day. 

Sadly there is no straight forward recommendation about how much water we each need every day. Instead,  you will have to do a little self-reflection. Do you feel thirsty? If so, that is a great indicator that your body is in need of water. I know it sounds simple, but making sure that you always drink water when you feel thirsty will be an easy way to make sure that you stay hydrated. Now if you are wondering if you are getting enough water, then take a moment and observe the color of your urine. Again, not glamorous, but it is effective. There is a great chart (CLICK HERE) to compare the color of your urine to your hydration status. Another easy way to know if you are drinking enough, is to track how often you use the restroom. Most well-hydrated people use the restroom 7-8 times per day that is about every 3 hours. Sometimes that can increase to 10 times per day or be as low as 4 times per day.  That is why noticing what color your urine is will help evaluate if you are appropriately hydrated. The handout mentioned previously, also includes some signs/symptoms of dehydration. One way to prevent dehydration, is carrying water with you where ever you go. Find a water bottle that you love and take it with you. You can fill it up with water, lemonade, tea, whatever is your favorite beverage and make sure it goes with you when you leave the house. This will help ensure that when you feel thirsty you will have a way to easily quench that thirst and avoid dehydration. 

As you can see, that 8 glasses of water per day recommendation may not hold true for everyone. It is a great goal to make sure that you are carrying around a water bottle and staying hydrated throughout the day. Make sure that you are using the bathroom on a regular  basis and taking note of your urine color. I know it is not glamorous, but it is worth it to make sure that your body's fluid needs are being met. This allows your body to function at its top potential. Now grab a glass of your favorite drink and bottoms up!