I never paid much attention to how much water I drank. Unless I was exercising, I rarely felt thirsty. I’d take a swig now and then, but I didn’t focus on it. Even though all I drink is water, a few years ago, I decided to measure how much water I was drinking in a day. About 60 ounces. Not enough. I now track my water consumption to ensure I get what I need every day. You may wish to do the same.
Why drink water?
About 60% of your body weight is actually water. Every organ in your body depends on water to function. Water balances your temperature, provides cushion and lubrication for your joints, keeps you hydrated to give you energy, and excretes waste and excess sodium through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Since you lose water every hour, you need to refill your tank to keep your body working.
Water also helps us digest our food, carries oxygen and nutrients to our cells, keeps our blood pressure and heartbeat stable, and may even lower the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney stones, and stroke. Our heart, lungs, and muscles contain water and require it to function properly. In a nutshell, we need water to live.
How much water should you drink?
Recommendations vary, but there seems to be a general consensus that you should drink about two-thirds of your body weight in ounces per day, and an additional 12 ounces for every 60 minutes of exercise per day. Here are a few examples using this formula:
Weight: 100 lbs. / drink 67 oz. / exercise one hour per day / add 12 oz. / total per day = 79 oz.
Weight 150 lbs. / drink 100 oz. / exercise 60 minutes per day / add 12 oz. / total per day = 112 oz.
The USDA recommends about 104 oz. per day for men and about 72 oz. per day for women. You also have a cushion if you eat plant-based foods rich in water such as grapes, celery, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and watermelon.
When should you drink water?
Drinking water before meals will make you feel full and helps you control the amount you eat. It also allows your saliva to more easily break down food. You should not drink while you’re eating to allow your body to absorb nutrients without interference. You may also drink after a meal. Drinking water before sleep gives your body energy to rest and helps prevent a stroke or heart attack. Drinking water when you wake up refuels your body as it becomes dehydrated as you sleep. You should also drink before a workout to hydrate yourself and after a workout to refuel.
How should you drink water?
Avoid plastic bottles as they pose significant health risks, pollute oceans, kill marine life, and contribute to fossil fuel emissions. Use tested tap water or water filters and drink from a glass or BPA-free metal bottles.
I hope you find this information helpful. I’ve been drinking water only for about 30 years and it has served me well.