How Much Water Do You Really Need?
We’ve all heard the standard “Drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water a day.” That’s good advice, but is it the best advice for your personal health?
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of factors that determine how much water you should drink, including your health, activity level and where you live.
What’s best for you?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that on average men drink 15 cups (3.7 liters) and women 11 cups (2.7 liters) a day. The eight 8-oz. glasses a day rule is easy to remember, but at 1.9 liters it does fall short. If you have health issues or exercise frequently, talk to your doctor about the amount that’s right for you.
While water is your healthiest choice, coffee and tea without additional sweeteners do count toward your total fluid for the day. However, make sure you limit the following high-sugar drinks, as they can contribute to weight gain and put you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and gout:
- Sugar-sweetened sodas and fruit punch
- Sports beverages
- Energy drinks
Why is water so important?
As you age, your body water content decreases – by about 15 percent between the ages of 20 and 80. This makes dehydration more likely. With less overall water, losing a small amount can cause you to dehydrate. Mild dehydration can cause fatigue while more serious dehydration can lead to constipation, confusion, falling and hospitalization.
Older adults often don’t feel thirsty so it takes some work to get enough water and fluids. If it helps, start with the 8 glasses rule, but then keep on going!