Hydration is so important, but how much water do we actually need?
Baseline Water Requirements
On average, we need a baseline of approximately 12 cups of water per day. Sound like a lot? Don’t worry. Your food will provide approximately 4 cups of water per day, so you should aim for an additional 8 cups of plain water per day as a starting point.
When to Drink More
Your needs will go up with various circumstances.
If you’re sick or losing water through vomiting or diarrhea, you will need more fluid as well as electrolytes.
If it’s drier and/or warmer outside, you might need to add an extra 2 cups per day.
If you’re exercising , you need approximately double the baseline intake, so around 16 full cups per day, which means you’ll start with your baseline of 8 cups, and add an extra 8 cups per day. If your exercise is very intense, this amount might not be enough. Hard exercise might require a total intake of up to 24 cups per day. So a baseline of 8 cups, and an additional 16 cups per day.
Try This Calculation
Another way to calculate your needs during exercise is as follows:
- Start with your baseline of 8 cups per day.
- When exercising, drink about 1-4 cups of water per hour of exercise.
- Drink 1-4 cups of water in the hour following your exercise session.
Drink Enough… But Not Too Much!
Be aware that too much fluid is a problem. Drinking more than recommended amounts can actually make you sick. So take care in how much you consume per day. Start with the baseline, and add more as needed.
What About Other Fluids?
Take note: water is the best choice for your fluid intake. But other drinks count too! Coffee, tea, soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks are important sources of fluids. If you can switch to plain water, that is best, but if you can’t, don’t stress about it. Just make sure you’re getting enough fluids from all sources. Plus, of course, any extra you need for heat, illness and exercise.
If you want to learn more about hydration, as well as tips on improving your diet, stay tuned. I’m creating a diet-related e-course for you, and it’s going to be awesome. In the meantime, happy training!
How much water do YOU drink every day? Please comment below!
Here’s a helpful article on guidelines for caffeine intake:
Check out some of my articles on performance and competition: