Eight ounces of water, eight times a day. That’s what many people learn is the golden rule of healthy hydration. But is it really accurate?
This 8x8 rule is a good starting point, but there’s more to the story. The truth is, our bodies vary widely and we all need a different amount of water to thrive.
Dehydration Vs. Overhydration: Finding the Right Balance
Water makes up at least two-thirds of our total body weight. So, it’s no surprise that water is one of the most essential “nutrients” we need to take in each day to stay healthy. Without enough water to replace what we lose each day, we find ourselves battling dehydration and side effects such as:
- Fatigue and brain fog
- Headaches or dizziness
- Sluggish digestion
- Increased pain or muscle tension
- Breakouts, dry skin, or premature aging
- Other inflammatory health conditions
But more is not always better. Drinking too much water poses just as many problems as not drinking enough. When you overdrink, you throw off the delicate electrolyte balance and increase pressure in the body. This can cause issues such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Increased stress on the kidneys
- Changes in blood pressure
- Weak, cramping muscles
So, How Much Water Should You Drink?
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that the average woman should drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day, and the average man should drink 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day.
But before you start chugging cups of water, there are several factors to consider to find your best balance:
- Your diet. Do you eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables? Great! You’re likely getting lots of water from your meals in addition to the water you drink. Do you eat mainly dry foods like bread, crackers, and chips? You won’t be getting as much water through your diet and need to drink more (and add more hydrating foods to your diet).
Your salt intake. Salty foods cause the body to pull water out of the cells and into the blood to maintain homeostasis. This not only damages the cells but puts extra pressure on your kidneys. Avoid super salty snacks when possible. And when you do indulge, drink extra water to help clear out excess sodium faster and restore your cells’ water balance.
Your go-to pick-me-ups. If you regularly drink herbal (non-caffeinated tea) or fresh juice, that counts as a healthy water intake. But, other beverages can act as diuretics and deplete your fluids. A cup of coffee or an after-work cocktail won’t send you straight into dehydration mode. But, the more caffeine and alcohol you imbibe, the more water you’ll excrete as urine. Keep these to a minimum and replace the loss with an additional glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink. Your liver will thank you for the extra water to help with detoxification.
Your exercise habits. Exercise is a great way to flush your system with healthy fluids and boost your circulation. But the sweatier your fitness routine, the more water you need to drink to replenish your fluids. Keep a water bottle handy throughout your workout and enjoy a tall glass after you’ve freshened up.
Your environment. If you live in hot, humid, dry areas, or at a high altitude, your body will naturally lose more fluids and you’ll need to hydrate more. You’ll also need to drink more during the hot summer months than colder times of year.
- Your thirst levels. Thirst is our body’s way of telling us what we need. We simply need to listen and adapt! Perhaps you tend to feel thirsty throughout the day and drink a lot of water. Or, maybe you rarely feel thirsty, don’t make yourself feel sick by overloading with water. You know yourself best.
- Your state of health. Changes in health can mean we need more or less water to cope and heal. For instance, when we are sick, we need extra fluids to support our immune systems and replenish any lost fluids from vomiting or diarrhea. Sometimes, certain health conditions or medications have a diuretic effect that we need to counteract by drinking more water. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding also need to drink extra water to best support their changing bodies and growing babies.
3 Ways to Stay Healthy & Hydrated
Need some inspiration and motivation for reaching your hydration goals? These tips make drinking enough water each day simple and enjoyable.
- Find a water bottle or glass you love. It may sound silly, but having a water bottle, mug, or glass you love can make drinking water throughout the day easier to remember – and more fun! There are even plenty of versions out there that help you keep track of how much you’ve had and motivate you to reach your daily goal.
- Go beyond plain water. Drinking fresh water throughout the day is great. But you can increase the health benefits and enhance your electrolyte balance by drinking different types of hydrating beverages like fruit-infused water for energy, peppermint tea for mental clarity or coconut water for post-workout recovery.
- Think outside the glass. Hydration isn't just about what you drink – it’s about what you eat, too! An average of 20% of our daily water intake comes from the food we eat. By eating lots of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, you can increase your water intake effortlessly. Plus, you’ll also benefit from all the added vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Try it with my Green Smoothie from Energize Me – it makes the most hydrating and nutritious breakfast or afternoon snack.
Health is all about balance – and that includes how much water you take in. Use these tips to reach your daily hydration goals, and don’t forget to sip a little extra after every pilates class!
- Water makes up at least two-thirds of our total body weight. So, it’s no surprise that water is one of the most essential “nutrients” we need to take in each day to stay healthy.
- The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that the average woman should drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day, and the average man should drink 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day.
The key to maintaining healthy hydration lies in knowing your body and adapting to daily changes. Consider your diet, salt intake, go-to pick-me-ups, exercise habits, environment, thirst levels and state of health.
Increase the health benefits and enhance your electrolyte balance by drinking different types of hydrating beverages
Consider the food you eat as an average of 20% of our daily water intake comes from fresh, whole fruits and vegetables.
Make hydrating easy with the TPC Hydrate Me Bottle.