While there are many things in life we say we simply couldn’t live without (pizza, ice cream, Netflix, iPhones),
the truth is, human beings could get by with just a few necessities. Water is one of the few resources that
human beings truly need to survive. More than two-thirds of a human being’s body weight is represented by
water and without it, the body would only function for a few days before completely shutting down. Learning
how to stay hydrated in various situations is crucial for healthy living.
Despite these facts, most Americans simply aren’t drinking enough water. In fact, it’s been reported that
75 percent of Americans fall short of the recommended amount of daily water intake, meaning the vast
majority is functioning in the medically-coined state of “chronic dehydration.” Individuals facing chronic
dehydration may experience symptoms of fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, headaches, and more.
Many cases of chronic dehydration could simply be a case of not knowing how much water is actually
needed by the body. To better understand how to stay hydrated, we’ve pulled together some insight
into proper amounts of water intake from reputable sources, based on common life circumstances.
According to FEMA emergency recommendations, the average person should drink at least two quarts
of water per day (about 1.9 liters). Even though the person in this example is living a sedentary lifestyle,
the body still uses up water to distribute essential nutrients to cells, remove waste (urine, feces), break
down foods, regulate body temperature and lubricate joints.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least 30 minutes of “moderate-
intensity” exercise a day (5 days a week) for healthy adults. This type of exercise is categorized by
“working hard enough to break a sweat, but still able to carry on a conversation.” Walking, running, stair
climbing, cycling, rowing, cross country skiing and swimming are all examples of moderate-intensity
When your body heats up from exercise, it releases the heat through sweat (water loss) in an effort to
cool down. Therefore, proper steps need to be taken to ensure water is available when the body needs
The ACSM recommends that adults drink 16-20 ounces of water at least four hours before moderate
exercise and 8-12 ounces 10-15 minutes prior to the exercise. When exercise begins, the athlete should
consume 3-8 ounces of water in 15-20 minute intervals (do not consumer more than one quart per
hour). Following the workout, it’s recommended that 20-24 ounces of water is consumed for every
The American Heart Association (AHA) says the amount of water that should be consumed during
intense workouts can vary depending on climatic conditions, clothing worn and the time of exercise.
However, they offer a rule of thumb similar to the ACSM (mentioned above). The AHA suggests those
preparing for an intense workout should weigh themselves before and after their workout. For every
pound lost during the workout, a pint of water should be consumed to replenish it. It’s not uncommon
for athletes to lose up to five pounds when exercising heavily in warm weather.
Keep in mind, simply sitting outside in hot weather causes the body to use more fluids. Monitor fluid
and weight loss to the best of your ability in the heat to stay hydrated.
Drinking water to avoid a cold or flu has been proven to be an effective tactic, according to a survey
carried out by Dr. David Lewis. Proper hydration ensures the lining of the nose stays moist, which then
acts as “flypaper,” catching things like dust and other bacteria before they enter the body. Without
proper hydration, the lining will dry out and harmful materials could more easily enter.
According to the results, individuals that drank just three glasses of water (as opposed to eight) were
five times more likely to get a blocked nose or sore throat. The effects deepened at two-and-a-half
glasses of water, where survey participants were nearly four times more likely to get flu.
As Leonardi da Vinci once said, “Water is the driving force of all nature.” Learning how to stay hydrated will
lead to a healthier lifestyle and you will feel better as a result. Hopefully this post provided some
valuable insight on water’s importance to daily life and the proper amount that should be consumed
during common day-to-day activities.
July 8th, 2015
by Tanya Bellini