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How Much Water To Drink Daily?

Ran across an interesting tidbit while pursuing Facebook this morning.  A little piece on the importance of water to your heart health seemed important enough to pass along, and we encourage you to share with friends and family.

How much water do I need?

The Mayo Clinic says that water is a principal component in the human body, and is vitally necessary for normal bodily functions.  We set out to help answer a basic question for you; How much water to drink daily?

“Every day you lose water through your 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.” – The MayoClinic.org

How much water do you need daily?

drink water daily

Evidence is mixed on this and there is no hard data to support a set number of glasses per person.  We're all different sizes, shapes and have different needs depending on our human state.  The general rule of thumb is that you should drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day (at least).

RELATED: Preventing Dehydration in Older Adults

Interestingly some agencies claim that total fluid intake (water and other fluids) should exceed 3 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women.  That's a lot of fluid… Are you getting enough?  How efficiently are your bodily organs functioning if you're not taking in the fluids that your body requires? (I know these are tough questions.)

“The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.” – The MayoClinic.org

Did you know that drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body?  Here are some interesting stats about the benefits of drinking water during your day and/or evening:

how much water do I need?
Kids and Older Adults Benefit from Water

Best times to drink water

  • 2 Glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs
  • 1 Glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion
  • 1 Glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure
  • 1 Glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack.  (There is no evidence to support this theory circulating online – though intuitively we believe it could be important for overall health.) Additionally water at bed time can prevent night time leg cramps. When your leg muscles cramp up, many times they are seeking hydration.

RELATED: DRINKING TEA MAY LOWER DEMENTIA RISK

If you're looking for some tips on how to motivate yourself to better hydration, HealthDigezt.com published a nice article entitled 10 Easy Ways to Drink More Water Daily.  2 of my favorites are #5 Replacing soda, juice and coffee with water (even though I'm a big-time water drinker, I still need my coffee), and #8 Hydrate when you exercise (always).

The benefits of hydrating with water throughout your day (and into your evening) cannot be overstated.  Do yourself a favor… Drink a glass of water today!  Check that… Drink at least 8 glasses of water today!

Photo: Flickr/Carol VanHook

69 Comments

  1. Wow. This is great. My Mom is 100 last Dec and drinks 4 or 5 glasses a day. I think it does make a difference and keeps the UTI away. Thank you everyone for all the input. It really helps to hear how others are doing. Giselle*
  2. I drink 16oz bottles 10&15 all day and night if I’m up. If I gotta pee when in bed tired, lazy to get up I can’t get back into bed the same way as I was, SO what I do all the time I use my pee bottle from when I was in the Hospital and go right back to sleep not unless it’s full but I have two. I’ve learned to plan ahead and it works. Just wash out with Clorox, the best way to clean it and no odor, TRY IT!!
  3. I am 65 and still working/active. For the past 5 o 6 years I have had frequent severe headaches starting at the top of the neck. Occasionally they have escalated to a really debilitating, pulsing pain. The pain usually connects to one or other temple and occasionally down to the hip. I had monthly migraines with aura since puberty and since menopause I have occasional migraine auras with little o no pain. I have recently found out that drinking ALOT more water elimates all this! Clearer, calmer mind and little or no pain, although it is obvious that my neck vertebrae are starting to grind together. I remember several years algo that a chiropractor told me my joints were dry; it took me a long time to act on her advice!
  4. I am an 82 yr.old and take herbal products to keep blood pressure normal-My BP went up and was instructed to drink 170 oz, daily to lower it.Is that safe for me?? My pressure has been controlled for just over a year on my herbal in take. Thanks for any input Audrey
    1. I’m one of many who doesn’t drink water, never have…have two coffees a day, a beer if weather is hot..worked for thirty years in extreme heat..(N.W Australia) but still never consumed water. Health seems okay (age 76). Resting heart rate is around 46/48 ….don’t exercise much but do walk around five kms a day…just never get thirsty !
  5. I read thru and enjoyed this post. I was concerned about hydration and noted I am doing well most days. those night time leg cramps are to be avoided and keeping hydrated is a waaaaaaaaaay big deal in that concern. Thank all of you for your posts. By the way I consume about 80 ounces of water(alone) a day plus a cup of coffee in the morning.
  6. 85 years young Advice given me was “to assist children to cure bed-wetting, give only one drink after 3pm.” It worked for a very embarrassed boy. Now part of the family mantra.
  7. Have read all the comments. I too have been having issues lately with not enough water. 67 year old retired female good health, family of 4. I havd been putting 3 drops kemon barley water in each glass as I hate the water taste. Is this ok for 8 glasses per day?
    1. Have you tried Smart Water? It was the only water that I could stand the taste of during chemo. I am hooked on it now. Has no taste at all.
      1. I would do Liquid IV which is essentially 3 bottles of water to one packet. They come in different flavors and you can buy different flavors.
    2. I’m 65 yrs. I drink 2.300 lleterof water every day. Is it ok for my age. Bt I feel sleep always . Can u reply me pls
  8. This reading has been very interesting. I just don’t get thirsty & really find water very boring however, since I lost my instruction booklet on what to do when you get past seventy 70 (l am 75). It is not for sissys! Your article was a goodgood reminder. So I am going to start doing much better on hydration! Thanks for all the goog information!
    1. Interesting. This implies you may have been “dehydrated” for much of your long life. You know, most institutional “experts” that publish “science” are clueless fakes hiding behind and supported by the unnatural miasma of corrupt modern “institutions”. They are not Einsteins. More like temporary high school teachers in intellect. If you drink too much, you will become hypotonic. Over 3 litres on a cool, lazy day is rather a lot of water… That is not to say dehydration should not be adressed, however. Just drink if you haven’t had a pee for a couple of hours or if your pee is not pale. Ane when you are thirsty, of course. “Listen to” the body. It is the real expert.
      1. By the time you feel thirsty or urine is dark, your body is already dehydrated, so waiting until those events occur and guzzling water is not the solution. It is best to drink moderate quantities of water and throughout the day rather than “binge drink” to keep from getting dehydrated in the first place.
      2. Could not agree more. No one “really” knows how much water we need, I am not going to sit here and gag at drinking another glass of water. I drink about 3-4 glasses of water a day and for me that is enough. My doctor yesterday said that is way too little. We always did fine drinking when we wanted to, yes, yes I have heard not to wait till I am thirsty, when in doubt pull the skin on your hand it should bounce right back. I am 72 and frankly tired of being told what to do at my age than when I was a child!!
        1. I appreciated your comments. I feel the same way. It is very unpleasant and upsetting to me to force myself to drink more than I want. I can drink more and enjoy it by making spritzers from my favorite fruit juices mixed with seltzer water. My current favorites are peach and apricot juice. Usually I put in up to 1/3 glass of juice and 2/3 water, but that is my personal preference.
      3. Aquaman If I saw your post earlier, My late Mum who was 93 yrs old will be still alive. I have been brain washed and drowned by water marketing from Kidney foundation. Such as mild dehydration will cause permanent kidney damage. In fact older people need less water intake because they are more likely to excrete less. Since someone was 30 yrs old, Kidney function started to decline. When there is overhydration, elderly can get water intoxication due to low sodium because of high fluid intake. For elderly with weak kidney function, they are prone to get Hypervolumeia(Fluid overload). If there is one episode of volume overload, there will be heart failure, high blood pressure, swelling, slowing or fasting heart rate, ruining of heart muscles and lung congestion. Fluid distribution system has been changed after volume overload and irreversible. Nausea, headache, bloating tummy are part of the symptoms of failing heart. If there is no congnitive impairment, elderly should pay extra precaution for proper hydration. Less is better than more for Seniors.
    2. From one Reesie to another: drinking more has totally improved my overall health and well-being … lowered my BP, stopped night leg cramps, helped me to lose weight…. keep up the goodgood work, flower girl!
  9. Ice Water (made from my own water) versus plain tap water which is healthier? I drink 8-10 16 oz. ice water daily my sister in law says this is not healthy should not be using the ice. Please help! Thank you in advance.
    1. Tap water provides many more nutrients than bottled but if your filteri my your tap water it won’t remove the beneficial nutrients
    2. She is right Cold water not good raises BP hzrdens fatty foods in body. Hot water also not good. Only warm water closest to body temp. Tea ok warm.
      1. That’s a pretty flippant answer. At age 75, I haven’t slept thru the night for 25 years, as I get up every 2 hours to pee. Sleep is also important. Surely there has to be a balance.
        1. I’m 78, and my M.D. says “to stay hydrated, drink about 64 oz. (8-8 oz glasses, per day).” Generally, pace the water intake so bedtime is about 4 hours away … that should help reduce sleep interruption to maybe once or no times per night. So, for example, I go to bed about 11:00 P.M. every night, and rise at 5:00 or 5:30 A.M. next morning — usually that’s when it’s time to use the bathroom. Immediately after that, I have an 11 ounce bottle of Ensure Max (30 grams of Protein) and an 8 oz. glass of water. The shower is next, followed by another 8 oz. glass of water. It’s nearly 7:00 A.M. – so 5 more 8 oz. glasses of water, juice, over the next 12 hours amounts to an 40 oz. as water or, maybe some fruit like watermelon to carry the day. For me, that means 67 ounces +/- per day. The benefits are immense.
    1. Hi Frank, I had the same problem. After I was cleared by my doctor that there was no underlying medical problem, this what works for me. I drink 1 litre of water from the time I wake up at 6 a.m. until noon then another litre of water from noon to 6 p.m. (1 litre is just a bit over 32 ounces.) This help to keep me hydrated throughout the day. I don’t add commercial powders or squirts to the water because of the chemicals. If I have juice, I do not include juices in this amount; mostly because of the high sugar content. I have changed my night-time med schedule from bedtime to morning before breakfast so there is no need for additional fluids at night to take them. If my mouth feels “dry” before I go to bed, I rince my mouth with water. However, it is worth noting my mouth only feels dry if I have eaten something too salty or sugary. So, even this can be managed by better diet. As I am not dehydrated by the end if the day, there is no need for additional water after 6 p.m. Of course, there may be times when you want to enjoy a beverage in the evening, but you won’t be playing catch up on your hydration. I wish you health.
  10. I am 77 and very active. I’ve started drinking a glass of water right before going to bed and usually, I no longer have to get up to urinate during the night.
  11. This is one awesome post Amie? I try to drink water every now and then – before going to sleep, after I wake up (Studies say that water can help to restart our organs), and during my meals. Currently, I don’t track my water intake, but I am going to start doing it. As tracking is the only way we know for sure whether we have accomplished our goals. I do carry around my own water bottle (20 oz) so tracking will not be tough for me ? Also I try to make water more interesting, I usually go with iced tea ? I don’t have a measuring cup, so I am just going to try and finish my bottle 3 times a day ? (that will get me close to my daily intake needed :D). Anyways, thank you for the comprehensive post ? Water has so many benefits and yet many of us forget to drink enough of it everyday and most of us are not aware of what our daily intake should be.
    1. There is an exercise to stop leg cramps before they start. I used to have a lot of them and it works. Stretch legs while lying down pulling your feet up towards you while keeping legs flat. Hold that position for a second or two then relax. Repeat a few times.This stretches the calf muscles and really does work. As well as water of course.
    2. I found that taking potassium and magnesium (helps the potassium absorption) eliminates leg cramps. This is the first time I have heard that drinking water will do that. BTW I am 74 years old and fairly healthy.
  12. Benefits of drinking water should be known and apply in our lives which is an essential part of the human life. Research showed that optimal hydration reduces the risk of stroke, manages diabetes and guard against many kinds of cancers. Want to know more about benefits of drinking water or Advantageous Impact of Water over the Human health? Please read our full article…
    1. Pity Aged Care facility’s do not see the importance of getting the Clients/Residents to drink water- my experience in such places is they are lucky to drink 2 glasses of water per day- so dreadful, people constantly dehydrated, affecting body & mind…sad
      1. I have found that too. My father died from complications of dehydration. It’ s been in my experience the older generations just weren’t big water drinkers, so I just push fluids, whether decaf, tea, water down juice or ensure. If I get them to take in at least 48 ounces of fluid a day not including fluids from food by a non active senior that’s a good day.
  13. Many elderly people have kidney issues and should check with their doctor on how much water to drink daily due to their kidneys not functioning properly. I had this problem dealing with my father who lived in the Phoenix desert where it’s very hot and people normally think “drink water, drink water, drink water, so you don’t get heat stroke, etc.”.
  14. I was told by a medical professional that an elderly person should not drink as much water as a younger person because it flushes the electrolytes from our body. Have I been misinformed?
    1. I’m certain you have been misinformed. The elderly need plenty of water. I’m a caregiver and I can tell you first hand that if they don’t get enough water (I use half their body weight in ounces of water, ex.. weigh 150 lbs, give 75 ounces of water a day) then they will be so confused, tired, urinary tract infections, muscle aches, joint aches, constipation, etc. Elderly people don’t usually get thirsty until they are very dehydrated. You can’t wait that long. Encourage them to drink all day long and MEASURE their water intake. Seriously… water is life for the older folk.
      1. Yes check with your doctor. Too much water can cause muscle tremors and seizures . It depends on the diagnosis esp in the elderly.
    2. This happened to my Mom several times. The reason is the older you get the organ of the body are not as efficient and pass through the body without the good of nutrients your body needs. She was hospitalized many time for electrolytes low and took IVs of sodiun and potassium and was like watering a wilted flower.
    1. Minimum 57 oz of water. Good rule of thumb is half their body weight in ounces of water. If they weigh 150lbs, they need 75 ounces per day. Their joints, organs, brains, muscles, etc are getting older and don’t work as well as when they were younger. I can’t stress this enough… the elderly need WATER. I’m a caregiver and if my clients don’t get enough water, they get so confused, fatigued, their muscles and joints hurt, they get urinary tract infections, they get over medicated, constipated, etc. I’ve found that many of my clients weren’t sick… they were thirsty!
      1. Hi Diana, I’m 71 and in good health. I haven’t paid much attention to water most of my life. I drink if I’m thirsty, But …. I read your comment and thought maybe I should learn something. I’ve lived alone for 20 years and food and drink, I mostly wing it. I DO take vitamins and see a Dr. regularly. This may sound stupid, but cola is a regular part of my day. Caffeine does not affect me. Sometimes I have a cup of coffee before bed because the warm of it lets me relax. So why is coffee or soda bad when they ACTUALLY ARE 90% water. Why does water have to be ” real ” or clear ? I don’t understand the true water story. Thanks for listening, LINDA. J.
        1. Linda, Certain beverages (those that contain caffeine) and foods (like asparagus and watermelon) are diuretics; in other words, they work to REMOVE water from your system, and speed up dehydration. When you have edema (retaining water in the legs etc.) eating asparagus and watermelon are healthy and safe ways to move the water out. However, drinking caffeine is extremely bad for keeping hydration; plus the huge amount of sugar in colas is also another health risk. Just because water is one of the ingredients in these drinks doesn’t mean that it isn’t completely made useless in your effort to hydrate due to the other chemicals involved.
          1. you really need to do some research on this. Seriously, I believe you are putting our erroneous information. I hope no one takes your advise. Watermelon is a great way for water intake; I believe it is one of the best. And coffee as well as tea also can help with the intake of fluids.
  15. Nice to read your information of drinking of water Thanks a lot Please keep educating people more and more .
  16. I am a 75 yr old woman. I just spent a day in the hospital being rehydrate. It wasn’t fun and I thought I drank plenty of water during the day. Obviously I didn’t drink enough. I awoke at 3am with stomach pain and diarrhea (I get diarrhea when I am stressed) . Every part of my body ached and I had a severe headache but I didn’t have any idea what the signs of dehydration were. It seems that the elderly need to be made aware of how serious dehydration can be not just how to prevent it. Thanks for your blogs Susan Dade
    1. I am a caregiver for a 95 year old man that weighs 160 pounds and has dementia. I’m here to tell you that if we don’t get him to drink AT LEAST 80 ounces of water (we usually give him 100 ounces) he gets so lethargic, has falls, gets recurring bladder infections, and gets so confused he can’t remember his 3 son’s names. A good rule of thumb is at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. But it all depends on what you eat, medications, exercise, kidney/bladder function, etc. We also give him a pinch of himalayan salt on his tongue at night to help him stay hydrated and we put trace mineral drops in his water for electrolytes. It’s been 2-1/2 years of this regime and all is good.
      1. Thanks for your information, Diana. It is so hard to get mama to drink, plus she strangles a lot on fluids, even thickened. May I ask what kind of mineral drops you give your 95 year old man? Thanks! Theresa
        1. Sorry Theresa! I just saw this. We used 2 different ones. We used Trace Minerals liquid for a while, then we switched to Power Paks by Trace Minerals with 1200mg Vit C because it was easier to measure in his water. We eventually just started putting half teaspoon of himalayan pink salt in half gallon of water and got him to drink that every day. I think that worked even better as far as keeping him hydrated.
  17. Thank you for this . my 90 year old mom how much does she absolutely need? she drinks 1 glass coconut water, 2 ener-c waterbased 1 cup of coffee a.m, about 2-3 glasses water, plus 1 ensure daily. she goes for 3-4- 25 min. walks daily up low grades and down. thank you .
  18. I am 86 I find I need water, 250 ms in a glass nearly every 2 hours during day. Without it I start to feel weak, dizzy and light headed, as though I will fall and there was a time recently when I had missed water for about 4 hours I found that when I tried to remember the phone numbers of certain people I was not able to remember what their names were. I decided to have a large glass of water and lie down for a quarter of an hour or so – and then my mind started to clear and I felt my usual self. Very scary. Also of a night I frequently found my mouth was very dry with tongue sticking to cheeks and roof of mouth – not pleasant – water again to rescue. So I need around just over 2 litres each day. It works for me.
    1. Hi Colleen- have you talked to your Dr. about this? Increased thirst is one of the symptoms of diabetes, I would make sure to discuss with your physician. Best, Amie

  19. How much water an individual needs to drink usually differs from person-to-person. However, 8 glass a day seems to be the norm. I like the time break up that you have mentioned as to the best times to drink water. Really helpful! Will surely follow it. Thanks for this post!
  20. Great Article! Its very important to drink sufficient amount of water as it will keep body hydrating. It will also removed toxics from body.
  21. I appreciate reading your blog and have also written about the importance of older people’s drinking enough water. I know you’ll want to check out this Huffington Post article–http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/online-myths_n_3954799.html–where Mayp Clinic weighs in about the inaccuracy of quoting one of their physicians about drinking water before going to bed to avoid heart attacks.
    1. Thank you Susan! We’ve made the appropriate edit, and appreciate you setting the record straight. Come back and visit us again!

      1. I visit often and will certainly continue, Amie. Those of us writing blogs focusing on older people often address the same subject from a different perspective. I invite you to check http://helpparentsagewell.com/2012/07/28/aging-parents-thirst-dehydration-in-the-heat-of-summer-or-any-time/ plus the post that follows (with the quick test for hydration).

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