How much water should you drink to stay hydrated? 4 rules for staying healthy

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The heat wave has arrived, and much of the U.S. is sweating in temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Excessive heat can lead to a variety of dangerous health conditions, such as irregular heart rate and increased blood pressure. In the heat of summer, staying hydrated is more important than ever.

There’s a lot of advice out there about hydration, which can make things confusing for you. In this article, we’ll explore how much water you should drink, what affects your needs, and four general rules for meeting your hydration goals.

Want more tips? Find out which foods can help you stay hydrated, how to sleep better on hot nights, and which electrolyte hacks you should be using today.

How much water should you drink every day?

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It’s generally not a bad idea to drink some water.

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We’re all familiar with the old saying: drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. It’s the rule of eight that guides us to drink 64 ounces (about 1.9 liters) of water each day. Many of us have blindly followed this advice our entire lives, not knowing where it came from or why we need eight glasses of water.

Read more: Best Reusable Water Bottles

Obviously, the eight-by-eight rule came from a vacuum, as there is no scientific evidence to support it. This is one of them Long-standing myth People believe this because that’s what everyone believes. While drinking 64 ounces of water each day isn’t a bad thing, it may be too much or not enough for some people.

Other guidelines exist, but there is still no real consensus. There are no formal recommendations for how much water people should drink each day, probably because everyone needs different amounts of water.

There is an “adequate intake” of water for adult men and women, but it can vary from person to person. This adequate intake includes nonalcoholic beverages such as water. Milk, Sports drinkTea and yes, coffee too. This also includes water from fruit, vegetables and other foods (think how much water goes into a bowl of oats or soup).

The Adequate Intake (page 73) is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters or 125 ounces) for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters or 91 ounces) for women. However you choose to consume these 125 or 91 ounces of fluid is up to you. Although these are the closest figures to our recommended daily intake, these numbers vary for each person depending on your health condition.

You may need more water if…

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When you lose fluids through sweat, replace them with water or sports drinks.

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You have an active job: People who work all day (especially those working outdoors) may need more water than most people. The more you move, the more you sweat, and you must replace lost water (and electrolytes) with fluid intake.

If you’re working outside during a heat wave, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends drinking 8 ounces (1 cup) of water every 15–20 minutes while working. Drinking water before and after work can help prevent chronic dehydration.

You exercise often: If you don’t have an active job but you exercise a lot – whether at the gym or for fun – you need more water than most people. Even though you may not realize it, you lose a lot of fluids during physical activity (Even in cold weather) Increase your water intake for your activities (especially travel activities).

You live in a warm climate: Hot weather means more sweating, and it’s important to replace lost fluids. Dryness in hot weather further exacerbates fluid loss – people in desert climates may need more water than those in tropical climates.

You are pregnant or breast-feeding: Pregnant women need more water to encourage better blood circulation, higher calorie intake and other bodily processes to support their baby’s growth. Breastfeeding women need extra water to support breast milk production.

Different rules for hydrating

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Keeping a glass of water at your workplace can help you drink more water.

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Different people follow different rules for hydrating. These four general guidelines can help you stay hydrated no matter your lifestyle.

Drink water when you feel thirsty: There is some controversy about this method. Some health professionals say you shouldn’t overcomplicate hydration and that your body tells you when it needs water. Others say waiting until you’re thirsty is too long a wait – meaning when you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated. Some people have stronger thirst responses than others, so this method may or may not work for you.

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Drink a glass before and between meals: This isn’t bad advice. Consuming water around rituals like mealtime can help form a hydration habit. Your total water intake will vary depending on the number of meals you eat. If you eat three meals, you’ll drink five glasses of water according to this rule, which may not be enough (unless they’re large glasses). If you don’t have a regular eating pattern, this rule may not work for you.

Drink eight glasses a day: Again, one type of health advice rarely works for everyone. If you feel adequately hydrated by drinking 64 ounces of water each day, that’s great. If you feel overly hydrated (clear urine and frequent urination), reduce it a little. If you feel dehydrated (dark urine, headaches, frequent urination), eight glasses of water may not be enough for you.

Drink half your body weight (in ounces): This is a simple guideline that’s easy to remember and usually easy to achieve. If you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink 75 ounces of water each day. This is the only general rule that takes into account different body sizes, but it doesn’t take into account thirst, climate, activity level, or other factors.

Experiment with hydration techniques to find out what works for you. As long as you aren’t struggling with chronic fatigue, headaches, or other symptoms of dehydration, you’re probably doing a pretty good job. As a failsafe, you can always determine if you’re under- or over-hydrated based on the color of your urine.

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