How much water should you drink in a day?
It’s a simple question, and you could go your whole life without thinking about it (thanks to constant availability of tap water). But if you’re packing fresh water for something like a backpacking trip where dehydration can be dangerous, it’s important to be able to calculate how much water you will need ahead of time. Also, it’s just good to know.
The common “rule of thumb” says 8 glasses a day
We know that hydration is more complicated than just drinking a set amount of water every day. This commonly-stated benchmark is a good starting point to approximate how much the average person needs to drink every day, but this amount will vary depending on various factors such as exercise, environment, overall health, and more.
A better formula
Another factor in how much water you need is your body’s size and weight. This is such a big indicator of your hydration needs that you can use your weight to calculate a customized benchmark for your personal water needs. This will still fluctuate depending on your activity level and your environment (for example, you need to drink more when at a higher elevation), but it will be more accurate than the 8-glass rule.
To use this formula, measure your body weight in pounds. You should drink between one half and one ounce of water for every pound you weigh. So a 200-pound person should drink between 100 and 200 ounces of water a day, depending on their activity level.
Water intoxication is rare, but can happen mostly with athletes or soldiers. This is when too much water is ingested too quickly, diluting sodium levels in the bloodstream. Due to osmosis, the sodium imbalance causes cells, including brain cells, to swell to dangerous levels. This can cause confusion, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes death.
It is very hard to overhydrate accidentally, and it usually only happens to athletes during major events. The kidneys can only process about 1 liter of water per hour, so you can avoid water intoxication by drinking no more than 1 liter per hour. Spread out your water intake throughout the day, and you’ll be good to go.
RooSense wants you to know your hydration numbers! Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances lead to cramping and poor performance, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, seizures, arrhythmias, kidney failure and even death. To learn more about our Optimal Sweat Performance System (OSP), read more About Us here.