So many of our health and beauty issues can be traced back to dehydration. Headaches? Constipation? Acne? Drink more water and you may see huge improvements. Your body is 60% water and water is involved in so many of your body’s processes – circulation, digestion, absorption and elimination of wastes. Your body is a machine, a machine that cannot run at its highest efficiency without water. So go on, fill ‘er up.
So, how much water should you be drinking daily? Everyone and their mother has a different opinion on this, and the truth is that there are so many variables involved that it would be impossible to create a magic number that applies to everyone.
What affects how much water I need?
- Body size: just as caloric needs go up with size, so do water needs.
- Activity level: If you’re sweating, you’re losing fluids and need to replenish.
- Climate and Temperature: The weather can inspire you to perspire, leading to more fluid loss. If you’re vacationing down South, or are lucky enough to live beach-side year-round, you should up your water intake.
- Diet: It shouldn’t be surprising that some foods have higher water content than others. Watermelon, for instance, boasts a water content of over 90%! If you’re eating a lot of these high-water foods, you can count this towards your daily water intake.
- Other: If you’ve got the flu, are on certain medications or have any other health conditions that may be dehydrating, you will need to take this into consideration and increase your fluid intake.
All that is to say that a blogger can’t provide her whole audience with a specific number of cups of water to drink for perfect skin and optimal health. I do however, have a guideline I’ve used to determine what I consider my minimum daily water intake.
(Your weight in lbs)/ 2 = minimum daily water intake in ounces
Ex: 128 lbs /2 = 64 oz (which comes out to 8 x 8 ounce glasses of water)
I consider the value above to be an absolute minimum and I adjust it in the following ways:
- I do not count any water consumed during a workout towards my minimum. That’s refill water.
- For every coffee I drink, I drink another glass of water that also doesn’t count towards the minimum. Coffee is a diuretic, so you need to increase fluid intake to offset the effects. I don’t drink soda or other very sugary drinks but if you do, you should also counterbalance the sugar intake with some water.
- Other adjustments based on temperature, diet and health status.
To cover all my bases, I aim (but don’t always achieve) to reach a water intake of a gallon a day. Overachieving leaves a lot of wiggle room in case I’ve decided to indulge on another cup of coffee that day, and if I fall behind, I’m still likely to be drinking enough water so I don’t feel guilty if I don’t guzzle a whole gallon. That being said, a gallon of water a day is surprisingly manageable. Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up, and repeat every hour until bedtime. If you spend as many hours awake as I do, you might hit a gallon (or very close) without even realizing it!
Need a little help to up your water intake? Try these tips:
- Start early: we all wake up dehydrated. Keep a glass of water on your bedside table and drink it first thing in the morning. Voila – while everyone has been reviewing the last 8 hours of social media, you’ve made a step towards a healthy start.
- Get yourself a new water bottle. It doesn’t need to be a fancy Swell bottle (but treat yo’self if you want to). A few good, cost-effective options can be found at Target, Old Navy and even Costco. Even a mason jar will do the trick. Having water close by at all times, and being able to measure your intake are wildly helpful in increasing your intake.
- Jazz it up. I love to add lemon juice, mint, or cucumber to my water. I’m not a fan of those syrupy add-ins that you keep in your purse to flavour water, but if that’s what it takes to increase water intake then go for it! Another option is to add a small amount of fruit juice to your water to add some flavour.
Are you ready to embark on an H2O challenge? Set a goal and stick to it for one week, no exceptions. At the end of the week, reevaluate your goal – how do you feel? Repeat for the rest of your life and enjoy the benefits of hydration!
Now it’s your turn to share. How much water do you aim to drink? How great do you feel when you’ve gotten enough water? How do you ensure that you’re getting enough?