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Young African American athlete having a water break in nature.

Water Intake – How Much is Enough?

Is there a magic formula that fits everyone’s water needs?  The answer is no but being aware of your body’s health factors can help you better estimate how much H20 your body needs.

The Importance of Water and Your Body

Your body is composed of about 60% water.

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The functions of these bodily fluids include:

  • Digestion
  • Absorption
  • Circulation
  • Creation of saliva
  • Transportation of nutrients
  • and Maintenance of body temperature

Water is important for healthy weight loss.

Drinking lots of water has been a crucial part of weight loss strategy. Water helps you feel more satiated and helps you avoid unnecessary calories from sugary beverages.

Water is important to help prevent dehydration.

No one will admit to being vain but your skin needs water to help guard against dehydration (ex: dry skin & wrinkles).  Your skin contains water and needs an abundance to function as a protective barrier to prevent fluid loss.

Water is important for kidney function.

Give those kidneys a break!  Body fluids transport waste products out of our cells.  Your kidneys function is to rid the body of those waste products or toxins through your urine. Adequate hydration also keeps things flowing along your GI tract. When you are dehydrated the colon pulls water from waste and the result is the ever so bothersome constipation.

We Lose Fluids All the Time; Remember to Hydrate!

We lose water every day through our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements.

For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.  So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
  • 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks

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Modifying Your Fluid Intake

You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors:

#1 – Activities that Make You Sweat

If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace electrolytes lost through sweat.

#2 – Hot/Humid Weather

Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.

#3 – Your Overall Health

Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor’s recommendation to drink oral re-hydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.

#4 – Pregnancy or Breast Feeding

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women’s Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.


About WakeMed Corporate & Community Health

The Corporate and Community Health division of WakeMed provides worksite wellness and health promotion services to numerous corporate and community clients throughout Wake County. The department is made up of a multi-disciplinary team who perform preventative health screenings, education and coaching upon request. The department assists thousands of people each year on their wellness journey.

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