How much water do we need to drink per day?

How Much Water Do We Need to Drink Per Day?

First Posted July 05, 2011 • Healthy Living

There are many opinions about how much water an individual needs in a day. Most of us tend to be in varying degrees of dehydration every day. During the summer, we lose more water sweating to control our body temperature, especially if we are active in the heat. Winter months can even be dehydrating, as we lose water through breathing drier air. Our bodies are composed of 70% water, so maintaining water content is crucial to maintain vital processes. Our bodies are magnificent machines and will take water from less necessary processes and places and direct it to the vital processes, until it has to use that water too. If we are only slightly dehydrated we may not notice much change, but as we get more dehydrated it will start to affect more important processes.

As a massage therapist, I see dehydration as a thickening of the muscle tissue and fascia. Fascia is one of the first places to dehydrate. The fascia and muscle become “sticky” and rigid, decreasing mobility around the joint, and causing soreness in the muscles. Other symptoms of dehydration include: thirst, loss of appetite, dry skin, dark urine, dry mouth, fatigue or weakness, chills, head rushes, headaches, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, decreased sweating, decreased urination, muscle cramps, nausea, and tingling in limbs.

While the question of how much water is under much debate, what we should drink to replace the water isn’t. Drinking plain old water is a great way to re-hydrate, preferably water that is filtered to take out organic matter and chlorine, but not the minerals that we need. Often people drink water filtered by reverse osmosis which is missing these important minerals. If we drink this water over a long time, our bodies will become unbalanced without the mineral replenishment. Hyponatremia occurs when the sodium levels in blood serum are too low, and can have a dramatic affect on your health. So while drinking pure water is an excellent way to stay hydrated, if you are drinking filtered water, you want to also drink electrolyte drinks. These are especially important when you are active in the heat of the summer, as you will lose more sodium in your sweat. This is evident by sweat having a crystal-like texture, or seeing a white residue on your skin after sweating. We have a great recipe for a homemade electrolyte drink. If you don’t want to make your own, there are many store bought versions available. Try and pick one with lower sugar content like E-load or an endurance formula.

Like many things in life, there is a range we humans fit into. Some of us will need more water to stay hydrated while others need less. If you naturally sweat a lot or are very active in the summer, then you will need more; if you are less active or don’t sweat much then you don’t need as much. I try to drink 2 litres of water per day and will drink even more when I exercise. Also, there is a common calculation used to find an individual’s ideal amount of water intake using half your body weight in ounces: i.e. a person weighing 150lbs would drink 75 oz of water per day. You need to find your own balance of hydration. The important thing is to find something you like to drink that will not dehydrate you further, and keep in mind those electrolytes too!