How Much Water Should You Drink and Why?
October 9, 2013
October 9, 2013
Often People Don’t Drink Enough Water, How Much is Enough?
I can tell you that, for the most part, we drink nothing but water. That wasn’t always the case, though. I remember several years back when I was first getting into being a fitness junkie. I was trying to focus on drinking water, and I had to mix in the Crystal Light flavor packets just so I could get it down (not good for you, by the way, due to the sucralose).
Looking back, I’m not really sure why I had such a hard time adapting to water instead of sweet tea (that’s a southern thing in case you’re wondering), but I did. Gradually over the years, I have come to a point where I can handle just regular old water – filtered though, not a big fan of the tap.
But here’s the problem: I was drinking water, but not enough! Especially when we were doing crazy programs like P90X, Insanity, Focus T25 and most recently Insanity the Asylum. So I did a water challenge with one of our Challenge Groups a couple weeks back, and we set out to really up our water intake. The changes I saw were crazy.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
When figuring up how much water I should drink, I learned that, according to the Institute of Medicine, the right amount for men is roughly 3 liters (13 cups) and for women it’s 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). But the equation that I found that I liked was:
- Your weight: The first step to knowing how much water to drink every day is to know your weight. The amount of water a person should drink varies depending on their weight, which makes sense because the more someone weighs, the more water they need to drink. A two hundred pound man and 100 pound woman require different amounts of water every day.
- Multiply by 2/3: Next you want to multiple your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) to determine how much water to drink daily. For example, if you weighed 175 pounds you would multiple that by 2/3 and learn you should be drinking about 117 ounces of water every day.
- Activity Level: Finally, you will want to adjust that number based on how often you work out, since you are expelling water when you sweat. You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes you work out. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake.
This is what I’ve used to calculate my water intake, and it has worked well for me.
Why Water is Important to the Body
There are so many reasons why water is important to the body. When you don’t have enough water in your body, every cell is affected. Add to that working out like we do, and you’re losing electrolytes, sodium, potassium, and chloride, which are essential to your body’s ability to function. I could tell when I wasn’t drinking enough. My muscles and joints were affected. It affected my recovery time and my workouts in a lot of ways: cramps, soreness, and just an overall blah feeling.
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
According to the Health Section in US News, it’s rare, but yes, it can happen. As much as you need water, it is possible to get too much. Having too much water in your system in relation to sodium is called hyponatremia. It’s actually not a matter of drinking too much water as much as it is drinking so much that it causes an imbalance between water and electrolytes.
When you lose water (through sweating and elimination), you lose electrolytes. If you replenish your body with just water, you dilute the electrolytes that are already running low in your system. If this occurs, your interstitial sodium levels can get so low that you can actually die. It’s not extremely common, but it does happen.
This is one reason why recovery drinks like the P90X Results and Recovery drink you hear us talk about all the time is SO important. You need the electrolytes and glycogen replacement. It uses Dextrose, which is the form of sugar your body knows how to handle, without having to convert it. Your body actually has to convert most sugars to dextrose in order to use them. The P90X Results and Recovery drink contains Dextrose in a form your body recognizes and can use.
I would love to hear from you if you have questions or have an opinion on what works well for you.