how much water should you drink?

One powerful performance habit is drinking water. As we shared in our last post, there are a lot of reasons to drink water…from physical to mental to social. But how much is enough?

The Institute of Medicine specifies that the daily adequate intake (AI) of fluid is 3L (about 100 oz.) for a man and 2.2L (about 75 oz.) for a woman. But, before you run to the water cooler, there is more you should know.

Factors affecting your water needs

Diet. First, keep in mind that there is water in most of our food. Some fruits and vegetables can be as much as 90% water, but overall you can expect to get at least 20% of your fluid intake from your food. That brings the AI for men to 80 oz. and for women 60 oz.

Activity. Obviously, you lose water when you perspire. You also lose it with elevated respiration, so the more you exercise, the more you need. Expect to add about 0.5L (or 16oz.) to compensate for exercise.

Health Condition. Certain health conditions, like vomiting and diarrhea, quickly deplete you of fluids. Others, like heart failure or certain kidney and liver disorders can cause you to retain water. If you have a health condition, ask your doctor how much water you should drink each day.

Climate. Common sense here. If you live someplace hot or dry, expect to increase your fluid intake. As well, remember that humidity may fall seasonally where you live, so in cold dry winter months, you may need to drink more. The same is true for high elevations, especially above 2,500 meters (8,200 feet).

Pregnancy / Nursing. If you are pregnant or nursing, bring on the water. Pregnant women need an additional cup per day. Nursing mothers need an additional 4 cups (14 oz) per day.

The Test…is to check your urine. If it’s clear or light yellow, you are probably good. If it gets dark, regardless of how much you are drinking, you may be dehydrated.

Suffice it to say, if you aren’t drinking more than a few glasses of water or other beverages per day, you aren’t thinking, working, relating, or achieving what you could with some more water on board.

If you are ready for some tips on staying hydrated, check out our next post.

Run hard!

Travis

Source: Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org