How Much Water Should You Drink per Day?

Your body is approximately 70% water. You are losing water constantly from your body, primary through sweat and urine. When it comes to how much water a person should be consuming on a daily basis, there exists varying opinions. The recommendation from health authorities is eight glasses of 8-ounce, which equals to 2 liters of water. This is referred to as the 8x8 rule. However, the water needs of an individual depend on multiple factors such as their overall health, gender, their activity level and the environment in which they live.

How Much Water per Day?


According to the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), individuals aged 19 years or older should have an overall fluid intake of about 3.7 liters per day in males and about 2.7 liters per day in females. This counts fluid intake in the form of water you drink or anything you drink or eat that contains water such as vegetables and fruits.


Recommendations in children vary according to age. Children between ages four and eight years must drink around 40 ounces or five cups of water every day. Children between ages nine to 13 years must drink seven to eight cups or 56 to 64 ounces of water every day. For children between ages 14 and 18 year, the recommended intake of water per day is eight to 11 cups or 64 to 88 ounces.

Pregnant or Breastfeeding

How much water per day? The recommendations of daily intake of water change for pregnant and breastfeeding females. Pregnant females of all age group should get at least 10, 8-ounce glasses or 80 ounces of water per day. Breastfeeding females of all ages have to increase their per day water consumption to 13 cups or 104 ounces.

Other Considerations

Apart from the usual recommended water intake you may be required to consume more water in case you reside in hot climate, do regular exercise, or suffer from diarrhea, vomiting or fever.

  • Drink an additional quantity of around 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 glasses of water every day in case you exercise daily. You should drink even more water than this amount if your exercise session lasts for more than an hour.
  • You may require more water in case the place you live has hot weather conditions.
  • You may also have to drink more water if the place you live lies more than 8,250 feet above sea level.
  • When you suffer from vomiting, diarrhea or fever, more fluids are lost from your body than usual; hence, you should increase your water intake. Your physician may advice consuming drinks containing electrolytes so as to maintain the body's electrolyte balance.

Why Is It Important to Drink Enough Water?

Water is the major chemical component of your body. Your body needs water for survival. Each cell and tissue in the body requires water for proper functioning. For instance, water:

  • Helps in removing waste products from the body via urination, bowel movements and perspiration.
  • Helps in keeping the temperature of the body normal.
  • Helps in lubricating and cushioning the joints.
  • Helps in protecting the sensitive tissues of your body such as spine.
  • Helps in keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.
  • Is an excellent resource for managing weight.

Lack of water may result in dehydration; a condition in which not enough water in present in the body for its normal functioning. Your energy may be drained by even very mild dehydration and you may feel tired.

How to Know If You Are Adequately Hydrated?

You are adequately hydrated if:

  • You feel thirsty only rarely
  • You pass light yellow or colorless urine

What Are the Risks of not Drinking Enough Water?

After determining how much water per day, let’s discuss what happens when you drink less water. When you drink less water than is required or lost by the body, then dehydration occurs. Its symptoms may range from feeling very thirsty to extremely tired. Your frequency to urination also decreases and your urine may become dark in color. In kids, dehydration may result in dry tongue and mouth, lack of tears on crying and less wet diapers.

Dehydration may result in:

  • Unclear thinking or confusion
  • Overheating
  • Changes in mood
  • Constipation
  • Shock
  • Formation of kidney stones

You can treat mild dehydration by increasing the intake of fluids especially water. In case you develop severe dehydration, you may require treatment at hospital, where you may be given salts and IV (intravenous) fluids till your symptoms improve.

How Can You Increase Your Intake of Water/Fluids?

  • Make it a habit to drink one glass of plain water after getting up in morning, before having tea or coffee.
  • Keep a bottle or glass of water at your desk or table at work. Take sips of water from the bottle every hour. If your job does not involve working at a desk, carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and drink several sips of water all through the day.
  • Drink water from the drinking fountain whenever you cross one.
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add some flavoring (sugarless) to the water. You can also put a lime or lemon slice in sparkling or plain water and make it flavored.
  • Drink one glass of plain water or any other low-calorie or calorie-free beverage between every meal and with every meal.
  • Make it a habit to drink water after, during and before exercise.
  • Drink water in case you feel hungry as people confuse thirst with hunger quite often.

Are There Risks of Drinking Excess Water?

Drinking excess water dilutes the electrolytes in the blood, decreasing the level of sodium; thereby, resulting in hyponatremia. This condition is common in children, people with small build and in active people such as marathon runners or athletes who drink too much water over a short duration. The symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Muscle weakness, cramps or spasms
  • Coma

Now we know how much water per day and how to drink wisely.

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