man and woman outside on bicycles drinking water

How much water should I drink each day?

“The popular trend of owning reusable water bottles—some as large as 64 ounces—has put a spotlight on how much water a person should consume daily,” said Victoria D'Costa, DO, Catholic Health Primary Care Physician. “Drinking water is essential to good health, but drinking more than your body needs is possible.” 

So, how much water does the average person need? 

“You may have heard the suggestion to drink eight glasses of water daily,” said Dr. D’Costa. “But that standard is not a one-size-fits-all solution.”


What is the recommendation for daily water intake?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine set daily fluid intake recommendations for the average, healthy adult who lives in a temperate climate.

“Fluids include water, other beverages and food,” said Dr. D’Costa. “Although all beverages add to your daily fluid intake, you should avoid unhealthy beverages like soda, sports drinks or fruit juice that contain sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients.”

  • Men: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters or just under a gallon) of fluids a day 
  • Women: About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters or just under ¾ of a gallon) of fluids a day 

Dr. D’Costa noted that certain factors contribute to needing more or less water daily, including:

  • Climate/temperature
  • Physical activity
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Health conditions (your doctor may recommend less fluid if you have heart failure or kidney disease)
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding

How can I make sure to drink enough water?

Drinking water helps replace the fluid you lose during the day, including through sweat and urination. Make sure you get enough water during the day by:

  • Adding natural flavor to water (like fresh fruit) so it is easier to drink
  • Carrying a full water bottle wherever you go
  • Using a smartphone app to track how much water you drink
  • Drinking sugar-free, low-caffeine beverages like seltzer or decaffeinated tea
  • Limiting or avoiding the consumption of alcohol

Many fruits and vegetables—like cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries and lettuce—provide a good source of water and can help you stay hydrated.


Can I drink too much water?

“If you are using a water bottle that can hold a high volume of water, like 40 ounces or 64 ounces, that is a convenient way to meet your goals,” said Dr. D’Costa. “But you need to be mindful about not overdoing it and refilling and drinking from that bottle multiple times on the same day.”

She noted that severe health risks from too much fluid intake are rare, but it can cause complications like making it harder for your kidneys to get rid of the excess water or diluting your blood’s sodium content. In extremely rare cases, a life-threatening medical condition called water intoxication can occur.  

Pace your water intake by drinking:

  • Whenever you feel thirsty
  • Before, during and after physical activity
  • During and between meals

How do I know if I am drinking the right amount of water? 

“Talk to your primary care physician, who can help you determine the right amount of water for you based on the recommendations and your individual needs,” said Dr. D’Costa.

Helpful ways to ensure you are hydrated include recognizing signs like you do not need to drink and your urine is colorless or a light yellow. 

Without enough water to function correctly, your body becomes dehydrated, and you will start showing symptoms like a headache and excess thirst. Your urine may also appear dark yellow instead of pale yellow because of a lack of water in your body.

“If you notice symptoms of dehydration, quickly drink a glass of water and keep drinking water until they begin to go away,” said Dr. D’Costa. “Get help immediately if you start to feel dizzy or confused.”

She emphasized that water has numerous health benefits, including:

  • Efficient waste elimination
  • Healthier skin
  • Improved digestion
  • Increased lubrication in your joints
  • Production of saliva
  • Regulated body temperature 
  • Weight management

“Our bodies cannot function without water,” she said. “Finding the right balance for your daily intake will make you feel better and improve your overall health.”


Find Care at Catholic Health

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