How Much Water Should We Drink a Day?

There is no easy answer to this question as it can depend on your age, health, how active you are and where you live. However, better understanding your body’s need of water will help you determine an answer to this question.

Every system and organ in your body depends on water to keep you alive. Your body loses water through daily functions like breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Your daily water loss through these functions needs to be replenished through consuming beverages and foods containing water.

Everyone has heard drink eight 8oz (1.9 liters) a day. The Institute of Medicine has determined adequate intake for men is roughly 13 cups (3 liters) and 9 cups (2.2 liters) for women. The eight 8oz a day rule is not far off. We need to remember there are several factors in which we may need to increase our water intake.

water guys water bottles sitting in iceExercise
If you exercise or perform an activity that makes you sweat you should increase your water intake by 1.5 to 2.5 cups.

Environment
There are several factors in the environment that can affect our body’s water supply. Hot or humid environments make us sweat more. During the winter heated indoor air, forces our skin to lose more moisture. Higher altitudes trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, in which more fluids are used.

Illness or Health Conditions
Fever, vomiting and diarrhea cause our bodies to lose more fluids quickly. Conditions such as bladder infections and urinary tract stones increase our body’s need for water.

Pregnancy & Breast-feeding
Women who are pregnancy or breastfeeding need to drink more water than normal to stay hydrated. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups (2.3 liters) of water a day. Women who are breast-feeding need to drink 13 cups (3.1 liters) a day because large amounts of fluids are used when nursing.

For an estimate of the amount of water you should drink a day the International Bottled Water Association offers a hydration calculator, which recommends water intake guidelines tailored to you. Consider investing in a water delivery service to ensure fresh water is always at hand.