Andrea Ivins

Question: Is it true that I’m supposed to drink 8-8oz. glasses of water per day?

Answer: This is actually a more complicated question than you might think, but the answer is no, not necessarily. The daily Adequate Intake (AI) for water is 3.7 liters (132 ounces) for men and 2.7 liters (96 ounces) for women over age 19. You’re probably thinking these numbers are high, but that’s because they represent total water intake from both fluids and foods.

This even includes beverages with caffeine and alcohol, since the Institute of Medicine concluded that they contribute to overall hydration, assuming they’re consumed in moderation.

Generally speaking, we take in 80% of our water from fluids and 20% from foods, so doing a little math gives us about 105 ounces for men and 77 ounces for women per day. These are rough estimates gathered from national data, and they may be appropriate for some, but how do we go about individualizing these recommendations? It’s actually pretty simple. Ideally, we should base our fluid needs on body weight, since a heavier person clearly needs more water than someone who weighs less. Therefore, a good goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. This approximates the daily fluid losses from your body. For example, a 160-pound person should drink roughly 80 ounces of fluid per day. A simple way to check if you’re adequately hydrated is to make sure your urine color is pale yellow to clear on a consistent basis.

About the author: Andrea Ivins is the club manager and Zumba Instructor at Anytime Fitness in Palestine, TX.

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