How much water do I need?

Water helps your body go with the flow. Water helps your brain control body temperature, and your eyes, nose, and mouth depend on its moisture. Your joints stay lubricated, your organs stay safe and cushioned, and your excretory system flushes out waste - mostly thanks to water.

All told, water makes up 60% of your body weight. Everyday, you lose some of that water. You sweat, you urinate, and you sigh out imperceptible water vapour each time you breathe. How much of that water you need to replenish each day depends on many different factors. Are you male or female? How old are you? Very active people may need more water than those with more sedentary habits. Folks in dry climates need more than those in temperate zones. Likewise, certain diseases and conditions require unique hydration needs.

The standard recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is just that - a recommendation. And it has recently come under scrutiny from the scientific community. Calls for more rigorous research have come, and studies have been recommended on the benefits of water in the areas of weight management, headache relief, and skin care.

Rather than counting on the 8×8 rule, gauge your water needs based on your body, health, and lifestyle. Some days you'll need more water, and some days you'll need less. If you're a reasonably healthy, moderately active person, you'll get the water you need through a healthy diet and a few healthy hydration habits.

Don't wait until you're thirsty. Thirst warns of the onset of dehydration. If you promptly heed your body's warnings, you should be fine. More advanced dehydration can be serious and dangerous.

Drink more water when you're active. Challenge your body with arduous aerobic tasks like running or cycling, and your body sheds water to keep you cool. Sip water before, during, and after exercise.

Make water your first choice. The drink menu may tempt you, and water is not always the most inspired choice, but opt for water instead of pop or booze to accompany meals. Caffeine and alcohol don't quench thirst; in fact, they dehydrate. Add a little zest to water by ordering a lemon or orange wedge, juicy berries, or a sprig of fresh peppermint.

Eat your water. Food accounts for about 20% of your water intake. So, you can get a boost of the benefits of water when you munch on fruits and vegetables like tomato, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, celery, or cucumbers.

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