Water is an essential element needed for humans to survive. Our bodies are roughly made up of 60% to 80% water. Without water, we can suffer from many ailments including dehydration. In severe cases, dehydration can be fatal. For athletes, and others who participate in physical activities like exercising, water consumption becomes even more necessary to compensate for the fluid loss due to sweating. But how much water does the average adult need to drink?
HOW MUCH WATER TO DRINK
Everyday humans lose water through sweating, urination, and other bodily functions. It’s imperative to drink enough water to replace the fluid loss and to maintain normal body processes. There are a few popular philosophies on how much water to drink.
- 8 X 8 Rule – A long standing approach to drinking water is the 8 x 8 rule. This rule suggests that people drink eight 8-ounce cups of water per day. Over the years, this rule was slightly modified to include 8 cups of fluids not just water.
- Replacement Approach – This method has gained traction over the recent years. The average amount of water loss for humans per day is roughly 2.5 liters. It’s been reported that the foods you eat can accounts for roughly 20% of your water intake. So, the replacement approach recommends that adults take in at least 2 liters of fluids per day.
- Dietary Recommendation – The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume at least 3 liters of fluids, which is roughly 13 cups, and that women consume 2.2 liters of fluids, which is roughly 9 cups.
BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER
1. Lose Weight – consuming water can lead to weight loss if added to a healthy diet and exercise. If you drink enough water before a meal, you won’t be as hungry. Additionally, ice cold water forces the body to heat up to warm the water, which leads to burning more calories. Protects Tissue and Joints – water helps to protect joints and the connective tissues by providing lubrication to cartilage, which is a shock absorber for the joints.
2. Digestion – water plays a significant role in the digestion system. From your mouth to your stomach, water aids in the transportation and the digestion of foods. Water plays a big factor in helping the body to digest fiber.
3. Waste System – water helps organs like the kidneys and the liver flush out wastes like urine. Water also helps to break down various toxins so they can be flushed out. Water can also help to relieve symptoms resulting from constipation.
4. Temperature – water helps to regulate the body’s temperature. This is important if you are exercising and your body starts heating up. Consuming water, or a sports drink, will help to replace the fluids lost and keep the body from overheating.
5. Body Aches – in some cases, headaches and back aches can be a direct cause of not drinking enough water. Consuming more water can help relieve these pains.
6. Fatigue – when you don’t drink enough water, the body has to work hard to function normally due to the lack of fluids. Drinking more water can help the body operate at an optimum level and make you feel more energetic.
7. Alertness – The brain is made up of at least 90% water. When a person doesn’t drink enough water they are less focused and less attentive. Consuming more water will help individuals concentrate better.
8. Healthier Skin – on of the most notable signs of dehydration is within the skin. Lack of water can make your skin look dry and tight. Adequate consumption of water will make the skin look healthier, moisturized and more elastic.
9. Transportation – in addition to transporting food, nutrients and wastes, water also transports oxygen to the body’s vital organs. A lack of water will have a negative impact on the body’s oxygen consumption which could lead to a variety of serious health issues.