When it comes to drinking water, you’ve probably heard the 8×8 rule or eight 8-ounce glasses (about half a gallon) each day. Unfortunately, there is no science behind this rule. Although it’s fine as a general guide, ultimately, the right amount depends on you.
Factors Impacting How Much Water You Need
- Your Gender – Men need more water than women due to their higher water weight percentage.
- The Weather – Hot, humid weather makes you sweat and therefore lose more fluid.
- Your Activity Level – Exercising also makes you sweat and lose water.
- Altitude – At 4,000 feet, you need about eight ounces more fluid every day.
Signs You Aren’t Drinking Enough Water
- You feel thirsty – This seems obvious, but your body is telling you it needs more fluids.
- Your urine is dark yellow – If you are dehydrated, your kidneys keep urine concentrated to preserve water.
- Your mouth is dry – A lack of water reduces normal salvia production.
- You feel tired and groggy – Moodiness, fatigue and brain fog are a result of your body not operating at peak efficiency.
- You get frequent headaches – Dehydration decreases blood volume and can lead to headaches.
Tips to Stay Hydrated
- Drink more water when you sweat – If you are physically active, especially in warmer temperatures, grab water before, during and after activities to fend off dehydration.
- Schedule water breaks – Do you forgot to drink water when things get busy? Try having a glass at the same times each day or set alerts on your phone.
- Carry a water bottle – Water bottles keep your supply close by. Plus, it’s easier to track how much you have had to drink over the course of the day.
- Drink water instead of eating a snack – Sometimes our bodies confuse hunger for thirst. Even if you are hungry, a glass of water can trick you into feeling fuller and eating less. And, as a bonus, studies show this can help you lose weight.
- Eat water-rich foods – You don’t have to get all your fluids from drinks. In fact, about 20 percent of your daily fluid intake usually comes from food. Meat, fish, eggs and fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and spinach, contain significant amounts of water.
- Make water your go-to drink – Milk, juice, herbal teas, sports drinks and caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and soda, count toward your total. However, water is cheaper and calorie-free. If you don’t love the taste, try these fruit-infused water recipes.
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