We’re constantly being told that we need to hydrate, or hydrate more. Since we were kids, we’ve always been told “eight glasses a day” is the secret number that will keep us healthy. While these numbers must all come from somewhere, we can all agree that some consensus would be nice. Is there a real number we should all be shooting for?
Why Do We Need to Hydrate?
The simple answer? Our bodies are mostly made up of water. We need to continue to replenish fluids that we’ve lost through exercise, restroom breaks or even simply existing. We sweat and get rid of liquids a lot in our daily activities, and it’s always a safe bet to just stay hydrated – it keeps us moving. Our body does a great job on its own balancing where the liquid goes, and filtering it, we just need to keep the tank level.
It’s important to remember that some of our hydration comes from the intake of food, as well, but that there’s a recommended amount of fluids that should come specifically from some kind of beverage. The safest bet, of course, is always water – no calories, no fuss, and it won’t slow you down.
How Much Water is Enough?
It turns out that “eight glasses a day” is an okay guide, but probably a little low. Obviously, for children this will be lower, and everyone’s metabolism, lifestyle, health concerns and other factors can change the amount of fluids they need to take in each day. If we’re focusing on men and women, on average, there are a few guidelines.
The recommended intake for men who are 19 years of age or older is 3.7 liters, 3 of which (13 cups) should be consumed in the form of beverages. For women who are 19 years of age or older, it is recommended that their intake be 2.7 liters per day, 2.2 of which (9 cups) should be from beverages. The cheapest, healthiest option being water.
These numbers can always depend on your weight and other factors.
Should I Drink More Water Than Recommended?
Too much of anything is bad for you, and while exercise may deplete you quicker than normal activity, you still don’t want to overdo it, to avoid any health complications. The average of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women is a good guideline, and anything beyond that is not believed to have any real health benefits, much as it may help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones.
What Are the Benefits of Hydration?
Your energy can even be drained with mild dehydration, so staying on top of your water intake can only help. If you don’t have enough water during the day, you could experience:
- Unclear thinking
- A change in mood
- Your body overheating
- Kidney stones
Beyond just the basics of keeping you alive and cooling you off, preventing these feelings and health problems is a good enough argument for staying hydrated.