Water is very important to our bodies. These hydration tips will give the lowdown on the liquid.
How much water should we drink in a day? Experts say we should drink half our body weight in fluid ounces per day. So if we weigh 150 pounds, then half of that is 75 pounds. That would equal 75 fluid ounces of water per day. There are 8 fluid ounces in a cup. So 75 fluid ounces would equal just a little over 9 cups (75/8).
I weigh about 220 pounds (I'm 6'4"), so ideally I would like to drink about 3 liters of water a day. I don't always meet that, so my secondary goal is about 2 liters. On my worst days I try to get at least a liter into me. That's in addition to any other drinks I have. Mostly what I drink besides water is milk (I aim for a liter of milk a day). I don't drink pop, coffee, tea or alcohol and only extremely rarely do I have juice.
Most of the time I'm quite good at getting at least 2 liters into me. I don't always succeed at getting 3 liters, but I do try.
On average, we can last about 3-4 weeks without food, but only about a week without water. Our bodies overall are about 60% water. Our brains are about 80% water. Water is a crucial part of our diet.
It's possible to drink too much water. Some endurance athletes have died from hyponatremia. The Mayo Clinic says a good indicator of how much water you should drink is your good old thirst indicator. That is, unless your sense of thirst has been skewed from old age or mind-altering drugs.
Generally, though, drinking too much water is not a major risk for the average person.
Some people wonder whether we should be trying to follow a "so-many-cups-per-day" strategy of drinking water, or whether we should just drink when we're thirsty. Don't we have the sense of thirst for a reason? Then some say that if we're thirsty, then we're already dehydrated. What kind of hydration tips should we use then?
For me, I use a bit of both strategies. I try to drink my 2-3 liters per day and many days I can do that. However, there are some days that I'm not as thirsty. I go and take a drink of water, but it just doesn't taste as good somehow. I would have to force it down more. In times like that I follow my sense of thirst and drink smaller quantities.
Most days I drink 2-3 liters. I haven't kept track, but if I would have to guess, maybe 5-10% of my days I feel I don't need to drink as much. I try to take a drink, but, like I said, it just doesn't taste as good.
One of the other hydration tips I like is a tactic I borrowed from Steven Siebold's book called "Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People"
He says people who don't eat well can often think of a "diet" as something that is restrictive and "un-fun". However, people who eat well describe their "diet" as a brilliant strategy.
You can create a brilliant strategy to get the right amount of water into you throughout the year. Think of the parts of your life that are fairly routine and how you can plan around those.
For me, I
find that I usually can't drink as much water in the morning as I can in
the afternoon or evening. I'll still have some water in the morning,
but not as much as later in the day. And I don't want to drink too much water before I go to bed, so I try to maximize my drinking between lunch time and early evening. That's what works for me.
Interesting fact: Humans are the only animal that drinks anything other than water as an adult. All other animals drink nothing but water, with the possible exception of their mothers' milk when they are young.