Water is an essential component of our daily lives. The human body is roughly 60 percent water. Without water, our bodies would suffer. Exactly how much water we actually need each day can be a rather confusing topic. For years, it has been the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water per day. This recommendation doesn’t take into account activity level, age, or weight of the person. The amount of water you should consume each day depends on many different factors.
Calculating Water Intake
The easiest way to calculate how much water you should drink each day is by multiplying your current weight by 67 percent. This number will be your baseline for water intake each day. So, for example, if you weigh 160 pounds you should consume 107 ounces of water each day. That breaks down to roughly 13 cups of water a day.
There are other factors that come in to play when talking about water consumption each day. If you live in an area with a hotter than normal climate, you should increase your water intake. Anyone that is active during the day should also increase their water intake. A general rule is to add 12 ounces of water for every 1 hour of physical activity. Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant should also increase their water intake.
Even children need a certain amount of water each day. Children ages 4-8 should drink an average of around 5 cups of water each day. That number increases to 7-8 cups of water daily for children ages 9-13. Children ages 14-18 should drink 8-11 cups of water daily. If a child is physically active during the day increase their daily total by 1-2 cups. Pregnant women really need to make sure they are drinking water, dehydration during pregnancy can lead to major problems.
Benefits of Drinking Water
With so much of our body comprised of water, it is critical that you consume the appropriate amount each day. Water helps our bodies regulate temperature, flush out waste, and lubricate our joints and organs. Water helps our skin by decreasing wrinkles and blemishes, making you look younger. Another benefit of water is how it aids our digestive system. Drinking enough water will decrease your risk of constipation and kidney stones.
Risks Associated With Water Consumption
Not drinking enough water increases your risk of developing dehydration. This can cause fatigue, constipation, mood changes, and kidney stones. People with dehydration may also feel weak. When you feel thirsty, that’s usually a sign you need to increase your water intake. If you don’t treat dehydration early on, it could mean I.V. fluids or hospitalization to get better.
Drinking too much water also poses a risk to the human body. Hyponatremia is a condition caused by consuming too much water in a short period of time. This condition can cause seizures, headache, confusion, and even coma. Hyponatremia is not a common condition. Marathon runners and small children are the most susceptible to the effects of Hyponatremia.
Consuming water daily is beneficial to your health. If you don’t like the taste of “nothing”, try adding fruit or lemon juice for flavor. Water doesn’t only come in the form of a drink. Some foods such as melons or cucumbers contain water also. If you can’t drink the recommended amount of water each day, always remember to drink when you feel thirsty.