The Water Debate: How Much Do We Really Need?

With so many differing opinions about how much water we should drink, it can be hard to know if you’re getting the perfect amount.  Each dietician, nutritionist and doctor seems to have their own idea about what constitutes sufficient water intake, and while most disagree on the exact quantity, everyone believes that drinking fluids is essential to our overall health and wellbeing.  So just how much of the life giving substance do we really need?  It appears there is no definitive answer because the perfect amount depends on individual needs and lifestyles.

It was once believed that eight glasses of water a day was sufficient to keep your body running at its best.  However, over the years, professionals have figured out that there are many factors that weigh in when deciding what is the right amount for each individual.  For example, one’s fitness level plays an extremely significant role.  As a general rule, daily exercise and water intake go hand in hand; when you increase the amount of one, you should increase the amount of the other.  Therefore, individuals who practice a sport or exercise on a regular basis should be drinking more water than those who don’t.  Typically, you should drink one liter of water for every hour of physical activity and even more if it is a high intensity workout.

Another factor that weighs heavily on water intake is the climate in which you live.  People residing in hot or dry climates need more fluids than those who live in colder and more temperate environments.  The reason being that when you sweat, you lose more fluids and your body needs more to replenish what has been lost.  Similarly, when you head out on vacation, it is important to make sure you adjust your water intake to include changes in climate. Remember to factor in the dehydrating effect of airplane travel, overheating due to excess time in the sun and the added loss of fluids from extra daily activity.  Staying hydrated is essential if you want to enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Including a sufficient amount of water in your daily diet is extremely important because it helps with a number of significant bodily functions that work to keep you in good health. Water is essential for digestion, healthy skin, proper kidney function and regular bowel movements.  In addition, not getting enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause diarrhea, high blood pressure, headaches, increased allergies, as well as a number of other illnesses.

For some, drinking enough water can seem like a difficult task.  However, keeping a bottle nearby is an easy way to make sure you are getting the proper amount of fluids each day.  Realistically you only need to drink between 5-7 ounces per hour and a little more when working out.  So getting enough water (or fluids) won’t seem that hard if you keep some on hand.  Ensuring you get the right amount of liquids each day might seem like a tedious task, but there is no doubt that the benefits far outweigh the hassle.