You need plenty of water throughout the day to keep you hydrated. Water improves digestion, maintains a moist environment for vital organs and helps keep your blood volume up for nutrient transportation. By the time you feel thirsty though, you’ve already lost up to 2 percent of your body weight and are on a path to dehydration, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports. By keeping a bottle with you at all times, you’ll be more likely to have a sip here and there, so you can meet your specific recommendation.
You need at least 2.7 liters of water each day, which is equivalent to about 91 ounces, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. This recommendation goes up a bit though if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. Throughout your pregnancy, aim for 3 liters a day -- 101.5 ounces. Then up your intake even more to 3.8 liters -- 128.5 ounces -- while you’re nursing your little one.
Water for Exercise
The water recommendation is just a base amount, so on days when you exercise, you’ll probably need even more. Drink small amounts of water while you’re working out to prevent dehydration. Otherwise if you do become dehydrated, you’ll start to feel tired and won’t be able to make it through your routine. Weigh yourself before your workout and then again afterwards. For every pound you lose during exercise, you’ll have to drink 2 to 3 cups of water to get your hydration level back up to par, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests.
Weight Loss Tips
Water doesn’t only curb your thirst, it can even help with your weight loss efforts. According to research presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2010, drinking water before each meal can help you lose weight. Throughout the study, research participants drank two 8-ounce glasses of water before each meal. On average, they consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories from that particular meal. By the end of the 12-week period, participants who consistently had water before sitting down to eat lost an average of 5 pounds more than those who didn’t drink the extra water. So now you have one more reason to pour yourself a glass.
Typically 80 percent of a person’s water intake comes from drinking water or other types of drinks, states the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. You also get some of your required fluid from food. But you shouldn’t rely too heavily on alternative drinks or foods to get the water you need. Soda, coffee and tea may actually make you urinate more, due to the high caffeine content. So even though you’re drinking, the fluid is going right through you. As far as food goes, you don’t have a way to measure how much water is in the food, so drinking water directly should always be your primary way to meet your water needs.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.