Is Eight Enough?

You might not realize that water accounts for about 60 percent of your body weight. Water serves many purposes in our bodies. It regulates our body temperature, lubricates and cushions our joints, and helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients for our bodies. Water also helps eliminate waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.

But how much water should you drink each day? For many years, the rule of thumb was eight glasses of water, eight times a day. However, the Institute of Medicine has made recommendations for general fluid intake. They suggested that women drink approximately 9 cups of fluid each day, while men drink 12.5 cups. This takes into account that beverages such as milk and juice contribute toward our fluid goals and that we get about 20% of our water through our food.

If you don’t drink enough water, you may become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headaches, and even heat stroke when the temperature climbs. Check the color of your urine if you suspect you are dehydrated. If it’s deep yellow, you should drink more water as soon as possible. Try drinking a glass of water with each meal, and remember to drink water before, during, and after exercise. Most of all, remember to listen to your body and drink when you start to feel thirsty!