These days, there’s no shortage of wellness tips being shared everywhere you look. In fact, sometimes it may feel a little overwhelming and even contradictory. But there’s at least one wellness tip we know is beneficial for your health in many ways—staying hydrated throughout the day.
But even then, there’s conflicting advice about you how much water you should drink each day to stay properly hydrated. The truth is that it differs from person to person, and there are a few different factors that influence a person’s water intake requirements. Some of these factors include your sex, your age, your weight, the quality of your diet, and how active your lifestyle is.
How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day?
Harvard Health says drinking four to six cups a day is a good rule of thumb for someone who is in good health. (1) The Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for water intake (which includes water intake from plain drinking water, formulas, beverages, and foods consumed) are more specific depending on one’s age and sex.
Recommendations for children of either sex range from six to seven cups a day, while recommendations for adolescents range from nine to 14 cups based on age and sex, and 11-16 cups for adults based on sex only. (2) However, it’s important to note that there are certain health conditions where drinking too much water could be detrimental to a person’s health.
If you have a health condition where proper water intake is critical to your health, it’s best to consult your doctor.
What Are 3 Symptoms of Dehydration to Look For?
Cleveland Clinic says, “If you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated, and that can cause symptoms like headache, fatigue, dizziness, and more.” (3) While these three symptoms are among the most common, there are several more symptoms of dehydration which may occur, including:
- Dry mouth
- High heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Dark-colored urine
- Flushed skin
- Swollen feet
- Muscle cramps
- Heat intolerance
If you’re experiencing several of these symptoms at once and think you could be dehydrated, it’s likely that you are, and we recommend contacting a health professional as soon as possible.
What is the Quickest Way to Rehydrate your Body?
If you need to rehydrate quickly, there are a few different techniques to do so.
Of course, the most intuitive way to rehydrate yourself is to drink plain water. If you are mildly dehydrated, your body will likely be sending you clear signals, and the simplest thing to do is to drink water. In many cases, if you feel thirsty, your body is likely already dehydrated, so it’s time to drink up!
While coffee and tea are known diuretics, they can be hydrating in moderate amounts. So go ahead and have your favorite tea or coffee if you need an extra pick-me-up, and water isn’t quite doing it for you. Just don’t overdo it on the caffeine, or it could have the reverse effect. Milk is also hydrating, and contains many electrolytes, which can help you rehydrate and repair your muscles after strenuous exercise.
Want to eat your way to rehydration? Fruits and vegetables consist primarily of water, and make a great snack, especially on a hot day or after a grueling workout.
If you’re severely dehydrated, the fastest way to rehydrate is through intravenous (IV) fluid replacement. But this isn’t something that is readily available to most people. It is typically offered only to patients who are in dire need of rehydration. AARP says, “Although IV drips are low risk for most healthy people, medical experts generally recommend against them — mostly because they’re expensive and unnecessary.”(5)
6 Tips for Staying Hydrated
As we’ve discussed, staying hydrated throughout the day is both beneficial and crucial to your health. The National Council on Aging says, “Even mild dehydration—as little as 2% fluid loss—can affect memory, mood, concentration, and reaction time.” (4)
Luckily, there are many simple ways to stay hydrated. Here are a few of our best recommendations to help with increasing water intake on a regular basis:
Hydrate When You Wake Up and Before Meals
It’s always a good idea to hydrate when you first wake up. Drinking a glass of water (or coffee or tea) as soon as you wake up is a great way to get in some hydration before the day gets going. And, drinking water before meals can help with hydration, while also helping to curb cravings and regulate hunger levels.
Eat Your Water by Following a Produce-Heavy Diet
In addition to drinking water when you wake up and before meals, you can also eat your water by consuming more produce in your diet on a regular basis. Some fruits and vegetables that are high in water content are lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, and zucchini, to name a few. Some fruits with high water content include mangoes, blueberries, apples, pineapples, and oranges.
Maximize Enjoyment by Experimenting with How You Drink Water
It’s important to try to make drinking water as enjoyable as possible. Challenge yourself to drink a certain amount of water and reward yourself accordingly. Give yourself a five-minute break from work after you’ve had three cups of water, or after you hit a specific measurement line on your water bottle. Add ice to your water, and then try at room temperature to see which you prefer. Try adding fresh fruit to your water. Do whatever it takes to make drinking water enjoyable.
Keep Track of Hydration with a Smartphone App
Holding yourself accountable for drinking enough water can be tough. There likely isn’t someone reminding you to drink more water throughout the day. Luckily, there are several free and low-cost apps that can do just that. Some great ones include WaterMinder, Waterlogged, Hydrate Daily, Water Drink Reminder, and iDrated Water.
Invest in a Quality Filter Pitcher to Drink From
Water bottles are great, but filter pitchers are an even better way to ensure you always have great tasting, clean water available at your fingertips. Aquagear filters last three times longer than the competition and create an unparalleled taste experience that’s safe to drink. When water tastes better, you’re more likely to drink more of it, and you’ll feel better, too.
Always End Your Day with Another Glass of Water
When in doubt, or just because, always add another glass of water at the end of the day, especially if you have a highly active lifestyle. This is a great way to make up for a lack of drinking enough water earlier in the day or water lost due to exercise. Wondering if you’ve had enough water today? Why not have just one more glass?
Now that you have a solid list of tips on keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day, it should be easier to hit your water intake goals moving forward. Save this list as a reference on those days when it feels difficult to get enough water in. You’ll be glad you did!
- Harvard Health Publishing (2022, May 15). How much water should you drink? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink.
- Riebl SK, Davy BM. The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance. ACSMs Health Fit J. 2013 Nov;17(6):21-28. doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e3182a9570f. PMID: 25346594; PMCID: PMC4207053.
- Cleveland Clinic (2021, February 16). Dehydration. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/9013-dehydration
- National Council on Aging (2021, September 23). 10 Reasons Why Hydration is Important. https://www.ncoa.org/article/10-reasons-why-hydration-is-important.
- AARP (2022, April 25). The Truth Behind Trendy IV Vitamin Therapy. https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2022/iv-vitamin-therapy.html.