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How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day?

It's the summer of wellness and we're all ready to refresh our daily routines. Our new Lively series will highlight all things hydration to help you live a fuller, more vibrant life with every sip.

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We've all heard the standard "drink 8 glasses of water a day" is important to follow, but the reality is the hydration rule isn't black and white. The amount of water we need to be drinking each day depends on many factors including diet, age, sex, exercise, and even where you live. Aiming to reach this magical number doesn't make much sense when our body's hydration needs fluctuate day to day thanks to these factors.

Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.

How do you calculate how much water to drink?

If you follow the old drink 8 glasses of water that are 8oz. each per day, you might be wondering, "Is 64 oz. of water per day enough," but there actually isn't a hard and fast rule.

Instead, pay attention to your body and check your urine. If your urine is dark or has a strong odor, you likely need to increase your water intake, whereas if your urine is a light-yellow color — but not clear — you're likely on track with hitting your hydration goals. (Always check with your physician if anything is out of the ordinary.) Another great tool to determine hydration is, of course, thirst. Keep in mind that by the time you are thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration to watch out for include dizziness, fainting, increased hunger, muscle cramps, and decreased sweat.  

Getting enough to drink is especially important for athletes. When dehydrated, workout performance and endurance suffer. Luckily, calculating your sweat rate is easy to do. Just follow the below equation to find your sweat rate, to figure out how much water to drink based on your weight and water lost during exercise.

Sweat Rate = (A+B)/C

A= Pre-exercise body weight - post-exercise body weight (in ounces)

B= Fluid consumed during exercise (in ounces)

C= Time exercising (in hours)

how much water should you drink a day

Do you really need to drink liters of water per day?

I drink approximately 4–5 liters of water a day, and here are some of the easy ways I make sure to stay hydrated. (Again, the amount you drink will vary, but you should drink throughout the day.)
  1. I keep a large bottle of water beside my bed. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I usually drink 500mL before my feet even hit the ground. This is an easy one for most people. After sleeping 8 hours, waking up thirsty is usually a given.
  2. I drink 500mL of water before each and every meal. 
  3. During my workouts, I always have my 750mL water bottle with me. Depending on what I'm training and how long I'm training that day, I'll often have two of those bottles of water. If you have your water with you at the gym [Editor note: We recommend packing Vital Proteins Collagen Water™ in your gym bag], you're going to be drinking more than you would if you visit the water fountain.
  4. Post-workout, I always have my 500mL bottle of a sports beverage that contains electrolytes and zero sugar. Sports beverages like this can be a great option but you need to check the labels and see what you're getting. 
  5. Keep water with you at work. I always have a bottle on my desk and by the end of the day it's empty. If it's not there, you won't drink it. Keep one at your desk and finish it by the end of each workday. (Filling it up throughout the day is a great way to get in extra steps!)

How much water is too much in a day?

Yes, it is possible to drink too much water, and again, this amount varies person to person. Health conditions – like hyponatremia – occur when the concentration of sodium in the blood is too low. As a result of this the amount of water in the body increases, which causes cells to swell. Hiring a knowledgeable trainer or coach before endurance events can certainly help to avoid these issues before they even happen.