Water is the most important nutrient. Without it, you would literally die. It’s required for basically all of your body’s life-giving processes, from delivering oxygen to your organs to making your brain work properly. Your body uses water to breathe, eat, sweat, and process food. Not only does water play an important role on the inside of your body, it’s also vital for your skin’s health and beauty (it’s one of the easiest and best beauty treatments–it combats wrinkles, puffiness, acne, aging, skin issues and flushes out toxins). Unfortunately, your body can’t produce water on its own. So, you have to replenish your H2O levels throughout the day.
With that in mind, how much water should you drink a day? Eight 8-ounce glasses, right? (That’s a little more than two 1-liter water bottle fill-ups, in case you were wondering.) If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably heard the eight-a-day adage about a gazillion times, but is it actually true? Well, yes and no. The truth is that how much water you need to consume daily varies based on a bunch of factors, including your age, diet, weight, activity level and environment.
Mindful Sipping is the Way
In truth, eight 8-ounce glasses is a good baseline, but you don’t need to obsess over it. Mindful sipping throughout the day — refilling your bkr glass water bottle a few times — is a great starting point. Try to drink even when you don’t think you’re thirsty, as thirst isn’t a good indicator of hydration. In fact, when you feel thirsty, your body is likely already dehydrated, having lost as much as one to two percent of your body’s water content. And even with that small amount of water loss, you could already start to experience signs of dehydration like stress, forgetfulness, agitation, dry skin and cracked lips.
People Who Need to Drink More Water
There are definitely some people who need to go a little harder on the hydration, though. If you happen to be one of the people on this list, you’re going to want to double down on the H2O.
- People who are hungover. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night super-thirsty after a night of drinking, you understand this one. In fact, scientists think dehydration is one of the main reasons why we get hungover.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women. You’re literally making a human and its food, so when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you need additional fluids to produce milk and stay hydrated.
- People who travel frequently. People who fly often and love the mountains need to drink more water because the body loses twice as much water through respiration at high altitudes than it does at sea level.
- Athletes and those who work out a lot. Obviously, when you’re pumping iron and doing cardio, you’re sweating out a lot of the body’s hydration. Highly active people need to sip H2O throughout the day to replenish.
- People who work in high heat. It’s the same concept here. The more you sweat, the more you need to rehydrate, so bring your reusable water bottle if you’re heading to the sauna, the desert, or a sweat-inducing interview.
- Kids and older adults. These two groups tend to have a weaker sense of thirst, so they usually don’t think about their water intake until they’re already dehydrated.
Is it Really That Serious?
Making sure you get enough water is a huge responsibility and, honestly, who has time to think about it? But skimping on the agua is definitely not a good idea. Dehydration can lead to a ton of uncomfortable physical symptoms, including headaches, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, insomnia, tiredness and even fainting and even cognitive impairments such as stress, agitation and forgetfulness, as mentioned. On the other hand, getting enough H2O is crucial for energy, focus and all-around health.
Bottom line: sip, sip, sip all day to make sure you’re getting your recommended water intake. If you’re thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated. The truth is that you may be getting enough fluids throughout the day, but mindful sipping will ensure it. Just make sure you’ve got always got a reusable water bottle handy, ideally one you truly love, so you’re ready before the thirst gets real.