Maybe the hard and fast rule that you should be drinking eight glasses a day is a myth, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't regularly be raising a glass. Keeping hydrated, especially in the hot Summer months, is important for staying healthy and energized.
Water is found in every part of our body, so downing enough H2O every day ensures our cells keep functioning properly and our bodies are free of toxins. And there's much to be said about water's other effects, from healthy-looking skin to appetite-suppressing properties.
How much water is enough?
If we don't have a magic formula to find exactly how much we should be drinking, then how do we find what works for us? How much water we need depends on how much we lose in a day. Your minimum amount that you need, for example, will be different on a hot day, after you hit the gym, and whether or not you are sitting at a desk all day. Other circumstances play a part in how much we should be drinking, like where you live, whether or not you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have an illness.
Read on for to find out just how much water you should be drinking.
Under normal circumstances, women need about 91 ounces of water a day, or 2.7 liters to stay adequately hydrated. Since the water we get from food makes up part of the equation, that translates to drinking eight or nine 8-o.z. cups (about 2.2 liters) of liquid a day — but you don't have to stick to the clear stuff. Anything from beer and wine to coffee, milk, and juice can count toward your water intake, but drinking too much of those beverages regularly is not the best idea. Not only is alcohol dehydrating, but opting for juice or soda over water can add unneeded calories to your diet.
How much water can you get from food?
If you eat healthfully, about 20 percent of your water intake will come from your food. Crisp vegetables and fresh fruits can be a stellar source of water and the perfect Summer food; watermelon and tomatoes, for example, can be up to 90 percent water, so celebrate warm-weather dining by filling up on juicy fruits and vegetables with a high-water content.
How much should you drink when exercising?
Besides feeling thirsty, not getting enough water can affect your energy levels, especially when exercising. A study found that people who were dehydrated did three to five fewer reps while they were strength training: turns out, dehydration affects a hormone that is essential for building strong muscles. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, remember to drink an ounce of water for every 10 pounds of body weight about one or two hours before you exercise.
What about overhydrating?
Some people experience a condition called hyponatremia, or low sodium levels, from drinking too much water, but it's a rare condition. It can happen to athletes during rigorous exercise — like trying to rehydrate running a marathon, for example, and other people who drink more than 34 ounces of water every hour. To help prevent this, replenish lost fluids with sports drinks, so you get your needed electrolytes when doing strenuous exercise.