How Much Water Do I Really Need Every Day?

August 3, 2015

We all know that our bodies need water, and plenty of it, to be happy and healthy. But when there’s iced coffee, fresh juice, all kinds of fancy teas, and enticing sodas to choose from, water can seem somehow…blah.

Of course, all of these beverages can help keep you hydrated, but most come with hidden side effects. Too much coffee will send your caffeine intake through the roof, and guzzling sports drinks or plain old fruit juice will spike your blood sugar. Though most of us know water should be our drink of choice, who hasn’t wondered—how much water do I really need to drink every day?

The answer: Probably a whole lot more than you’re drinking right now. Nearly half of Americans don’t even come close to being fully hydrated.

Okay, so what about that standard, one-size-fits-all prescription of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day? Turns out that’s not really accurate either.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t take into account individual differences in height and size, how much physical activity you’re getting, or other medical conditions.

Instead, some doctors suggest drinking between a half ounce and and ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 175 pounds, that means you’d need to drink between 87.5 and 175 ounces of water each day. Depending on what kind of day you’re having—whether you’re lounging around or exercising—you can adjust each days water intake to the higher or lower end of that spectrum. If you’re pregnant, or have a dehydrating health condition, you’ll need to drink more water.

Still struggling to get enough H20? Buy the biggest reusable water bottle you can find, and measure your water intake in how many of those you can down each day.

Another way to trick yourself into drinking plenty of water is to jazz up your agua with some fruit, mint leaves, or even slices of cucumber. Voila—spa water!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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Annalise Mantz

Annalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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