How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?



Almost everyone can attest to not drinking enough water at various times of the day. I’ve seen people walk around with gallon water jugs however, even these are still nearly full at the end of the day. Whether you attempt to drink 8 cups of water or carry a jug around, you likely aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day and it’s affecting your body’s ability to function. 

​It sounds like a simple question to answer however, there have been multiple studies that have tried to determine how much water we require but no specific amount was established. It comes down to three important factors:

  1. Overall Health – Comorbidities 
  2. Your Activity Level 
  3. Where you Live

These determine whether or not you need more or less water. If you are someone who suffers from diabetes, it is recommended that you increase your fluid intake whereas for someone with cardiac issues we want to maintain a specific fluid level to not tax the heart. If you live in Arizona, you’re likely going to need more water than someone who lives in Iceland. Activity level also plays a large role because when we exercise, we sweat to cool down the body. 

So this is all great information, but how much water should I be drinking on a daily basis?? The following is what the Mayo Clinic recommends on a daily basis for the average person: 

  • Men = 126oz
  • Women = 93oz 

**Men typically have more body weight = higher fluid intake

Now let’s look at the fluid needed for exercise. It is recommended that you drink 16oz of fluid 2 hours before exercise. While you’re exercising, drinking 6-8oz every 15 minutes during strenuous activity in a hot environment will reduce the risk of developing severe dehydration. It isn’t recommended to drink more than this amount during exercise because your body won’t be able to process it, resulting in it going straight to your bladder. Once you finish your workout, for every 1lb of body weight lost to dehydration you need to drink 17oz of water. 

Below are important benefits of drinking the recommended fluid intake:

  • Helps maintain homeostasis
  • Allows body processes to function properly
    • Metabolism – weight loss 
    • Temperature regulation 
  • Lubricates joints 

Do I have to drink water? Will my morning coffee or soda at lunch suffice? Unfortunately, the answer is no, because a lot of the “typical” beverages we drink actually promote fluid loss. These diuretics cause the body to expel water and salt leading to dehydration. The best advice I can provide is for every cup of coffee or tea, drink a cup of water afterwards! 

Water represents 45-70% of an individual’s weight so it’s crucial that we maintain this ratio to be able to function at our highest level! Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a daily exerciser, you need to be aware of and track your fluid intake so you can reduce injuries and unlock your full potential!  

– Dr. Colten Sullivan
Bull City Physical Therapy 


  1. Haff, G., & Triplett, N. T. (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Fourth edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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