How Much Water Should I Really Be Drinking? — King County, WA

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To maintain your health, you need to drink a sufficient amount of water each day. Y ou don’t want to get dehydrated, since dehydration can lead to short and long-term health problems. If you’ve been tired, experienced headaches, or felt excessively hungry, you should try drinking more water.

Here we share tips on how much water you should drink, why, and what happens when you don’t.

How much water should I drink?

You may have heard the easy-to-remember saying, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.” This isn’t the most accurate advice, but it’s easy to remember, and it’s nearly right.

Actually, doctors recommend 3 liters (13 cups) per day for men and 2.2 liters (9 cups) per day for women. The amount of water you need is based on body weight, so the larger you are, the more water you’ll need. 8 cups is actually a little under the recommended daily amount, but it’s more than most people drink every day, so it’s a good preliminary goal.

When should I drink more water?

You may need more water than normal under the following circumstances:

You live in a hot climate.

Your body makes sweat to cool your skin down when it is hot or humid outside. That sweat takes fluid away from your body, which means you need to drink to replenish it. Y ou can also lose moisture in a hot room during the winter, so you should drink plenty of water no matter what the weather is like outside.

Also, if you’re travelling at a high altitude (higher than 8,200 feet), you may experience more rapid breathing and increased urination, which deplete your fluids as well.

You are sick.

Your body goes through more fluids when you’re sick, which is why doctors recommend drinking more fluids to help beat a cold. You should drink more water when you have a fever, diarrhea, or nausea to replenish your fluids.

Your doctor may recommend increasing your fluid intake if you have certain chronic conditions like bladder infections, urinary tract infections, or kidney stones.

However, for other chronic conditions, your doctor may recommend limiting your fluid intake. This is especially true for heart failure and some kinds of liver, kidney, and adrenal diseases. These diseases tend to affect your body’s ability to expel fluids, so it’s best not to overload on water.

You are pregnant or breast feeding.

When you’re eating and drinking for two, you need to drink more fluids to stay properly hydrated. Doctors recommend women drink 2.3 liters (or 10 cups) each day when they’re pregnant and 3.1 liters (13 cups) when they breast feed. Just remember to drink one extra cup per day when you’re pregnant and 3 extra cups when you’re breastfeeding.

You are an avid athlete.

People who regularly exercise tend to sweat more, using more fluids every time they work out. To compensate for the lost water, drink an extra 400-600 milliliters (1.5-2.5 cups) for each hour you exercise. If you run a marathon, you’ll need to drink even more fluids. For very vigorous exercise, you may need to use a sports drink that contains sodium (sweat also gets rid of sodium in the body).

What does water do for my body?

Your body is 60% water by weight. That means water contributes to every major system in your body from your muscles to your brain.

Water helps your body function properly. It flushes out toxins, wastes, and other contaminants.

It also regulates your body temperature, carries nutrients to your cells, reduces constipation, and prevents kidney stones from forming.

What happens when I don’t drink enough water?

When you don’t drink enough water, you get dehydrated. Dehydration can zap your energy, making you feel tired and listless. If you let dehydration go too long, you can feel weak, dizzy, faint, and confused, and you can get more frequent headaches.

How do I know if I’m drinking enough water?

The quickest and simplest way to check if you’re drinking enough water is to look at your urine. If it’s a clear or pale yellow, you are fully hydrated. If it’s a dark yellow, you need to drink more water.

You can also tell if you drink enough water by your bowel movements. People who are hydrated tend to have softer bowel movements, so if you’re consistently constipated, try drinking more water.

Can I drink other fluids to stay hydrated?

The best, cheapest, and most efficient hydrator is water. Y ou can drink tap water, bottled water, sparkling water, any water you like. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, invest in a water filter for a cheap solution to hydration.

You can also drink other fluids to stay hydrated, including fruit juice, coffee, soda, iced tea, milk and even alcoholic beverages. However, these other liquids also have extra calories and sugar. The best no-calorie option is water. You should drink water for the majority of your hydration.

You can also get water from the foods you eat, most notably fruits and vegetables.

What should I do now?

Get up right now and fill up a glass of water to stay hydrated! Your body will thank you.

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