Water is your lifeline to good health. It’s absolutely essential to your survival. You have probably heard that you could survive quite a long time without food. You cannot survive long without water.
Over the years, studies have yielded different results to a relatively simple question. Before we try to answer how much water you really need, we’ll need to address your lifestyle. How active are you? How much do you weigh? What is your diet like?
Water is Life
Water makes up a whopping 60% of your body weight and because all of the organs and parts of your body depend on water, becoming dehydrated is easier than you think. How do you know when you are dehydrated. For starters, you can check the color of your urine. If it is clear and copious, you are likely in good shape. If it’s a yellow or amber color, you need to drink more water. Even moderate dehydration can affect the body causing fatigue and sometimes even headaches.
When you exercise you lose water. As you sweat, fluids leave the body in the form of perspiration and must be replenished. If you exercise for a short period of time, you’ll need to increase the amount of water you drink. If you exercise for an hour or have intense workouts, you will need to drink even more. Adequate intake of water is usually about 13 cups per an adult male and 9 cups per an adult female. In liters, this translates to 3 and 2.2, respectively. One thing to note is that our food contributes to our hydration. Typically food can account for roughly 20% of the water that we need in a given day.
Your Climate Has a Big Effect on How Much Water You Need
Humidity can have a big effect on how much water you need to drink to stay hydrated. We tend to perspire more in humid and hot climates. This is the same with high elevations - our bodies can rapidly dehydrate as we move up in altitude.
Anytime you are in a new climate or altitude, it's always a good rule of thumb to drink more water than you typically need. I personally know, for example that every time I visit a tropical climate, I need a ton of water in order to not get a headache. In fact, I need to start drinking water before I get into the hot climate. I find it works best to hydrate in the morning before the sun is beating down mid-day.
Clear and Copious
This is one of the best rules I’ve heard of. Drink water until your urine is clear and copious. You don’t need to go overboard but you do need to stay hydrated to avoid fatigue and a potential headache.