It’s actually a complex question because each body is different.
The human body is made up of about 70 percent water, so staying hydrated is an important piece of the puzzle when striving for a healthy lifestyle. In fact, ‘drink more water’ is often the first suggestion listed in diet or weight loss articles. Water has many significant benefits for the body such as lubricating joints, regulating body temperature and flushing out waste products.
And, our bodies are constantly losing water, so it’s crucial to consistently replenish the supply.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
You’ve probably heard that you should drink eight glasses of water per day, but measuring based on a glass, a non-uniform metric, can be a little tricky. The Institute of Medicine recommends that an adequate intake for men is 13 cups or 3 liters and for women is 9 cups or 2.2 liters.
But each person’s body is unique and therefore has different water intake needs.
A few factors that increase the amount of water you need to intake are:
- Physical activity – Exercise increases the amount of water you need to drink to compensate for the water lost while sweating.
- Weather – If you are in a warmer climate, you’ll sweat more and therefore, need to replenish more often.
- Altitude – A higher altitude can trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, both of which expend more water than your usual body function.
The kidneys, the body’s filtration system, require considerable water to do their job. So you may find that the increased water means that you’re going to the bathroom more frequently. That’s a good sign!
Thankfully, fighting dehydration is easy. Just fill up a glass or grab a bottle and start giving your body what it needs.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Many people are mildly dehydrated on a daily basis and don’t even know it. Mild dehydration will result in some negative effects but moderate to severe dehydration can have serious consequences.
When moderately dehydrated, a person will experience symptoms such as a headaches, muscle cramps, constipation, dry skin and fatigue. These symptoms may not seem so bad, but if left untreated the dehydration, and the symptoms, can worsen. Severe dehydration can lead to symptoms such as extreme thirst, irritability, rapid breathing and heart rate, fever and in very extreme cases, delirium or unconsciousness.
The Benefits You’ll Experience When Hydrated
When you stay properly hydrated, you’ll likely notice some positive health effects. For starters, proper hydration can help the body combat fatigue. When the body has the right amount of water, you get better sleep and the restoration of bodily systems will keep you energized all day.
Staying hydrated can also help lower blood pressure. Blood is about 92 percent water when you are properly hydrated, so if you are dehydrated, your blood pressure can rise.
One of the most interesting benefits of hydration is the impact it has on allergies and asthma. If you suffer from either, being hydrated can lessen the effects. This is because when you are dehydrated your body creates more histamines, which are the compounds that cause allergic responses. When properly hydrated, less are produced resulting in reduced symptoms.
In general, if you are dehydrated, your body will usually let you know. Thankfully, fighting dehydration is easy. Just fill up a glass or grab a bottle and start giving your body what it needs.