. . . your lips are cracked/ you lick them often AND/OR you
- Are constipated
- Have dry skin
- Notice your urine is darker than straw (and you haven’t been taking supplements – such as Vitamin B)
- Think you are hungry all the time (If so, try this: drink 8 ounces of clear water before reaching for between meal snacks)
. . . the list goes on . . .
What is YOUR body telling you? “Please drink more water!” (That’s what). It surprises many to learn that dehydration is as concerning in the winter as it is in the summer – but for different reasons. During summer months we think about heat stroke, fainting and other life threatening consequences; but, the dry winter air (especially in the northeast US) contributes to the spread of the flu and other viruses that spread by coughing and sneezing. Isn’t this worthy of our attention? The symptoms of dehydration in the winter are also potentially dangerous. How many people know that drinking WATER is among the first recommendations when we want to bring down a fever? Ask any pediatrician.
How much water do you REALLY need to drink? (Is there a quick, easy FORMULA?)
Your Weight Divided by ‘2’ = How Much Water You Need to Drink
It’s all over the news, especially during a heat wave (but sadly not as often – if at all, when we crank UP the heat in our homes). So what are the facts? Which beverages actually count towards your daily intake of water (and which DON’T?) Does tea count? YES. Beer? NOPE. Soda? Not really. How about soup? It may – unless it’s ‘creamed’ . . .
For general information click here.
The bare bones approach discussed in the news clip linked above is a good start, but fails to individualize the approach. What if a person is living with diabetes or congestive heart failure? What about people who suffer from lung or blood pressure issues? What if there are several daily medications in your regimen or you suffer from chronic constipation? Do these conditions impact the amount of water required? ABSOLUTELY: YES. They most certainly do.
Each of these health issues forces us to individualize our approach to targeting ‘optimal water intake’. Your primary health provider can help with this. When you bring the discussion up, be certain that all of your questions are answered.
Winter months are notorious for dry air. Does humidification count towards water intake? No, but it does help your overall health. Ask your primary care provider for details and recommendations on a safe system for YOUR living environment.
The goal is to avoid dehydration. Click here for signs of dehydration. (I am not promoting this product. The web page gives good, easy-to-read information). For a more scientific explanation about the mechanism of dehydration, click here.
The truth is this: the amount of water you need in order to sustain proper hydration depends on several factors including your body weight, exercise, and the environment (i.e. temperature, humidity). There is no single across the board number – but there IS a ‘general rule’ you can follow if you are in relatively good health.
Always consult with your trusted health provider before implementing dramatic changes in your lifestyle – including diet, exercise, hydration, supplementation etc.
Your goal is to drink enough water so that all your body systems can work effectively – and this includes generating enough energy to walk, talk, listen and think clearly.
Bottom line to what YOU need: The two-step formula mentioned above (and illustrated below) is for healthy individuals who plan to spend the day sitting in a relaxing, 70 degree environment would be to take your weight (in pounds) and divide by two. Then, take that number and put “ounces” after it.
This is what the QUICK & EASY TWO STEP FORMULA looks like:
Body weight: 120 pounds . . . divided by two = 60. (Then divide ’60’ by ‘8’ to get number of glasses/day)
The number “60” represents the number of OUNCES of water you need to drink if you
- are in good health
- are not planning to exert yourself
- will be in a relatively moist but not too humid 70 degree environment
To get the number of glasses of water, you then divide the # of ounces (in the above case: 60) by ‘8’. Therefore, a person who weighs 120 pounds would divide ’60’ by ‘8’ (that is the number of ounces in a full cup of liquid) which becomes an intake of water equal to about 7 or 8 glasses (each of 8 ounces) a day. Click here for a more precise tool that takes other factors into consideration.
Note: Keep in mind that ‘milk’ is considered a ‘solid’ and does not count towards your water intake. While teas, soups, fruits and vegetables may indeed help hydrate you, it is best to consume/drink these outside of the calculated target ounces. So if you weigh 120 lbs., aim to drink 7-8 glasses (60 ounces) of clear water . . . and then eat your veggies etc. on top of that.
Here’s to your health!
- Avoiding dehydration while drinking alcohol
- A fun story about beer
- Potentially dangerous side effects of too much beer
- Beer and potential dehydration
About the Author: Dr. Iankowitz is an ANCC board certified advanced practice nurse, in private practice as founder and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. Dr. Iankowitz is the editor and author of several articles and books, and founder of Universe’Secretary.
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