Sure, it's important to stay hydrated--and yet, "Exactly how much water should you drink a day?" isn't always a neatly answered question. The expert recommendations seem to change every few years, and factors like your level of health, how active you are, and where you live also play a part in determining just how much H2O your body requires. Therefore, there's no simple answer to how much water a person needs--but we did our best to find one anyway!
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?
Everyone has heard the advice, "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day." That's about 1.9 liters, which isn't that different from these recommendations by the Institute of Medicine for the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate: for men, roughly 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day; for women, about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. All fluids you drink count toward your daily total; of course, some drinks—think coffee, soda, or alcoholic beverages—are less hydrating than others.
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When you consider the benefits of staying hydrated, it's hard to argue with drinking more water. At about 60 percent of your total body weight, water is your body's main chemical component, and every system in your body depends on it. Water helps carry nutrients to your cells, provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues, and helps flush out toxins. And a lack of water—that dreaded feeling of being dehydrated—can drain your energy and cause you to feel tired and lethargic, or even hungry (which is why drinking more water can help with weight loss).
Of course, being aware of how much water you need is only part of the battle; you'll also need some handy tricks for remembering to drink more. If you need to increase your water intake, start with simple ways: Change your restaurant order from soda or coffee to ice water, carry a water-bottle with you to work, and chug a glass every morning when you wake up. There are other sneaky ways to up your intake as well.
Watch the video to see 5 more easy ways to trick yourself into drinking more water.