We’ve all heard we should drink eight glasses of water each day. However, a person’s gender, activity levels, climate, and underlying health conditions can affect how much water is actually needed and can vary from person-to-person.
About 60% of our bodies are composed of water, and getting enough water is important for good health. Drinking water:
- Prevents dehydration
- Maintains normal body temperature
- Lubricates and cushions joints
- Protects the spinal cord and other tissues
- Helps rid the body of waste through urine, stool, and sweat
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that women who consumed about 11.5 cups (91 ounces) and men who consumed about 15.5 cups (125 ounces) of total water in a day from all sources, including both beverages and foods, were adequately hydrated.
If you take into account that about 80% of most people’s total water consumption comes from water and other beverages, while 20% of the water comes from foods:
- Women need about 9 cups of water each day
- Men need about 12.5 cups of water each day
For those who are physically active, the American Council on Exercise recommends drinking:
- 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before the start of exercise
- 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
- 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise
Factors that can increase the body’s need for water include: