How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?

The general recommendation is 8×8 oz cups of water daily. Some say you need more. But some say drinking too much will get you water intoxicated. What is it? Here’s how much water should you drink per day, and why.

Why You Need to Drink Water.
You can go several weeks without food, but you can’t go more than a few days without drinking water. Water is the most critical nutrient for life. Your body is 60% water and needs it for:

  • Hydration. Strength training causes water loss through sweating. You’ll prevent dehydration by drinking enough water.
  • Recovery. Your muscles needs water to recover from strength training. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll limit your muscle gains.
  • Digestion. You need 25g fiber per day for optimal digestion. But since fiber binds to water, it’s useless if you don’t drink enough water.
  • Satiation. An empty stomach will make you think you’re hungry. Drinking water will fill your stomach and make you feel less hungry.
  • And More. Water regulates your body’s temperature, prevents kidney stones, improves skin health, lubricates joints, …

How Much Water Do You Need Daily?
If you drink enough and have healthy kidneys/bladder, your urine should be color- and odorless. Darker urine is only acceptable the first time you urinate after waking up.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Pay attention to the color of your urine when you urinate. The rule of thumb to get it color- and odorless is:

  • 1liter per 1000kcal you expend = your daily water requirement

So if you expend 5000kcal per day, you need to drink 5 liters water per day. To find out how much calories you expend, check out the cunningham equation. It will give an accurate view on your caloric needs.

What About Water Intoxication?
Over-consumption of water can disturb the balance of electrolytes in your body. This can cause fatal disturbance of your brain functions. 3 tips to avoid water intoxication:

  • Eat Healthy. Check the 8 nutrition rules. Applying these rules will ensure you replenish your electrolytes
  • Use Your Head. Don’t do crazy things like drinking 10 liters water in 30 minutes. Don’t participate to drinking contest.
  • Avoid Sports Drink. Over consumption can lead to water intoxication since they’re often too low in electrolytes. And they’re full of sugars.

What About Peeing?
Drinking more water will make you go to the toilet more at first. However your bladder will adapt. After a few weeks you’ll have to go less. But probably a bit more than before.

Consider it a good thing. Spending too much time in the same position causes problems in the long-term. Drinking water is the best way to force you to get away from your desk from time to time: to go to the toilet.

How to Build The Habit of Drinking More Water.
By drinking more water, more often. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Some tips:

  • Start Early. Have 1 cup of water ready on your nightstand. Drink it first thing on waking up. Persist if it’s hard: you’ll get used to it.
  • Drink 2 Cups with Each Meal. 2 cups at lunch, 2 at dinner, 2 with your snacks. Eat first, drink later. Otherwise you’ll struggle with your food.
  • Sip Water During Your Workout. Take a bottle of water to the gym and sip water during your workout. Sipping will prevent a set stomach.

Bonus Tips.
If you don’t like the taste of water: drink it more & more often. Your taste will adapt. Extra tips to deal with boredom:

  • Get a Brita Filter. And filter your tap water yourself. It’s cheaper than bottled water and the brita filter improves the taste of tap water.
  • Drink Tea. Green tea is a strong anti-oxidant and natural diuretic. Drink tea from time to time instead of plain water.
  • Squeezed Lemon. Squeezed lemon in water. Improves the taste and lemons help maintaining the acid/alkaline balance in your body.

Note that veggies, fruits, coffee, milk all contain water so they help getting your daily water requirements.

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