Water, H2O, Aqua, "Wudder", L'eau, Wasser.... Whatever you call it, your body needs it! It is imperative for a healthy Self, Soul, and Space. The human body contains about 68% of water (depending on body size). But why do we need it, and how much?
Health & Water:
Every system in your body depends on water; water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for your ears, nose and throat. Not enough water can lead to dehydration, when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even minor dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish it by consuming water, beverages, other food that contain water.
How Much Water?
So how much water does the average, healthy adult need? Research shows that the adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. The old rule of 8 (8oz) glasses of water, equals about 1.9 liters. However, this is all under optimal conditions, if you are pregnant, breast feeding, exercising moderately or at high intensity, sick, or are in hotter-more humid climates... Your water intake must increase!!
If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water should suffice for small amounts or low intensity exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (like running a marathon) requires way more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise. During longer time of intense exercise, it's best to use a sports drink, like Gatorade or Vitamin Water, that contains sodium, this will help replace sodium lost in sweat. Also, continue to drink fluids after you're finished exercising.
Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluids. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Higher altitudes may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
Illnesses or health conditions:
When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade. Also, you may need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones.
In General, you should drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and you produce colorless or light yellow urine, your water intake is probably adequate. If you're concerned about your water intake, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian.
My Water Consumption & Recommendation:
Honestly, I try to drink 65-70oz, half my weight, of water each day. I also drink other beverages throughout the day, Starbucks coffee especially! I do not drink much juice or soda, and I occasionally enjoy a glass of wine or a vodka soda. During long runs or intense workouts, like spin, I make a 1/3 vitamin water + 2/3 ice water cocktail. For every non-water drink, I try to add another cup of water. I start my day with 1 cup of room temperature or warm water with a slice of lemon. Plus, I carry a camelback full of water wherever I go. I also keep 2 Brita pitchers full at home, so I can constantly refill, and cut costs of bottled water. When eating, I prefer water with my meals, so I can really enjoy the favors in the food. Lastly, I wrap my day with one last cup before bed.
The easiest way I found to increase your water intake, is to always have it with you. Also, switch it up out and at home; add/remove ice, straw-glass-water bottle, add fresh fruit or cucumbers or fresh herbs. When I am out to eat or at a bar, I always order water in addition to my non-water drink. Double fisting is COOL, as long one is water! As a teen & twenty-something, I used to drink as little water as possible, and my body and skin suffered. Now, water is my DOC, drink of choice! Got water? Drink up!!