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Once thought of as an easy question, figuring out how much water you should drink on a daily basis is not cut and dry. The age-old rule of thumb is to drink eight 8oz glasses of water per day, which equates to approximately half a gallon. While this may be a great start to your water intake, it is not always enough for every person.
For instance, your weight, activity level, and heat/humidity can all affect how much water you need to drink to stay properly hydrated.
If you live in a hot and/or humid climate your body will lose more water through sweat. Since your body is working a bit harder due to the heat, you will need to increase your water intake.
Similarly, exercise will make you sweat and you will lose a lot more fluid than someone who is sedentary. Making sure you rehydrate your body, especially after intense exercise of an hour or more, is essential for a healthy body. Consuming extra 1.5-2.5 cups of water after exercise is generally recommended.
Illness and certain health conditions may also contribute to a need for more water per day. For example, when you are sick with a fever or have vomiting and diarrhea you will lose more water and electrolytes. Therefore, increasing your fluid intake is necessary to help your body fight off illness and work properly.
There are tons of helpful online tools to help you calculate how many ounces of water you should drink per day. These simulation tools take into consideration a number of different factors such as:
Although water is the best way to hydrate since it is calorie and sugar-free, all beverages that contain water contribute to your overall water intake. It is also a myth that caffeinated coffee and tea dehydrate your body and don’t count towards ounces of water. These beverages do indeed count as positive ounces to your daily water intake goal.
Additionally, fruit juices, seltzers, and even alcohols count towards your intake goals. Of course, you must be responsible when consuming sugary fruit juices and alcohols. These types of beverages should be limited to one (for women) to two (for men) drinks per day.