holistic wellness

How Much Water
Do You Need To Drink Daily
To Remain Healthy and Prevent Dehydration?

What's a good water hydration calculator to determine how much water you need to drink daily to prevent chronic dehydration?

A simple guideline is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half for the minimum ounces you need to drink every day.

Most people aren't drinking enough to maintain optimum hydration.

They are unnecessarily causing health problems that can be reversed or controlled by the intake of sufficient water.

Drink adequate water

Start your day by drinking two 8-ounce glasses of Reverse Osmosis purified water as soon as you wake up.

Then drink two glasses a half hour before each meal and one glass two hours after the meal. Keep a water bottle with you all day.

When you exercise, experts recommend drinking 13-20 ounces before you begin and 6-8 ounces every 15 minutes during your exercise session.

Regular and adequate purified water intake is essential for avoiding the metabolic complications of chronic unintentional dehydration, the primary cause of many chronic diseases.

Tips and Guidelines For Staying Hydrated

How Much Water Do You Need To Drink Daily?

Every day you lose water through breathing, perspiration, bowel movements, and urination. Your body won't function properly unless you replenish this fluid loss by drinking an adequate amount of water every day.

There are a couple ways to determine the approximate water needs for an average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate.

  • Replace the daily loss of body fluids: On average, the daily urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters. An additional liter of water is lost through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. You'll need to consume at least 2.5 liters of H2O (about 10 cups) to replace the fluids lost through these normal bodily functions.
  • The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume roughly 3.0 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. I recommend that at least 8 cups of your daily fluid intake be pure water. Beverages such as sugary drinks, sodas, caffeine, alcohol, and some herbal teas have a diuretic effect and may result in an overall fluid loss - even though the amount consumed seemed adequate.

Other Factors That Influence Your Water Needs

How much water you need depends on your level of exercise exertion or other strenuous activity, the climate you live in, and your wellness status. Pregnancy or breast-feeding also influences your need to increase your water intake.

  • Exercise: The more you exercise, the more fluid you'll need to keep your body hydrated. An extra 1 or 2 cups of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires additional fluid. How much additional fluid is needed depends on how much you sweat during the exercise, but 13 to 26 ounces (or about 2 to 3 cups) an hour will generally be adequate, unless the weather is exceptionally warm.

    During long bouts of intense exercise, it's best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Fluid also should be replaced after exercise. Drinking 16 ounces of fluid per pound of body weight lost during exercise is recommended.

  • Environment: Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
  • Illnesses or health conditions: Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these cases you should drink more purified water and may even need oral rehydration solutions. Certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones, also require increased water intake. On the other hand, certain conditions such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are lost especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 2.4 liters (about 10 cups) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3.0 liters (about 12.5 cups) of fluids a day.

Dehydration and Complications

Failing to take in more water than your body uses can lead to dehydration. Even mild dehydration - as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight - can sap your energy and make you tired. Common causes of dehydration include strenuous activity, excessive sweating, vomiting and diarrhea.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Mild to excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Little or no urination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Mild dehydration rarely results in complications - as long as the fluid is replaced quickly - but more severe cases can be life-threatening, especially in the very young and the elderly. In extreme situations, fluids or electrolytes may need to be delivered intravenously.

Staying Safely Hydrated

It's generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time one becomes thirsty, it is possible to already be slightly dehydrated. Further, be aware that as you get older your body is less able to sense dehydration and send your brain signals of thirst. Excessive thirst and increased urination can be signs of a more serious medical condition. Talk to your doctor if you experience either.

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. Nearly every healthy adult can consider the following:

  • Drink a glass of purified water before and between each meal.
  • Hydrate before, during and after exercise.
  • Substitute sparkling water for alcoholic drinks at social gatherings.

If you drink water from a bottle, thoroughly clean or replace the bottle often. Refill only water bottles that are designed for re-use.

Though uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in a condition called hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood). Endurance athletes - such as marathon runners - who drink large amounts of water are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who consume an average American diet.

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Disclaimer: The information presented here is for educational purposes only.
It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. If you have any health
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