How much water should I drink daily

Drinking water is important, but drinking enough of it is more important as it would prevent you from becoming dehydrated. 
Some people say that water is life, and I agree with them. 
We need water as it transports nutrients and oxygen throughout our body cells, tissues and organs where they are needed and utilized.
It equally transports waste out of our body cells for eventual removal from our bodies.
All biochemical processes that go on in our bodies cannot happen without water.
This should tell you how important water is. 
Water also helps in the regulation of our body temperature. 
Drinking enough of it daily will help prevent different disease conditions such as constipation, kidney stones, dehydration etc. 
Other importance of water include the following: 

  1. It hydrates the skin and boosts its health and beauty
  2. It acts as lubricants to the joints 
  3. It is a major component of the saliva and mucus 
  4. It acts as a shock absorber to our sensitive and delicate body tissues and organs such as the brain and spinal cord. 
  5. It helps in food digestion 
  6. It helps in blood pressure and hemostasis regulation 

Water is actually vital for life and wellbeing. 
 Everything, including humans, animals, and trees, virtually need it for life.
Drinking enough of it is very important to humans for several reasons, as we noted above. 
Conversely, not drinking enough of it to meet the body’s daily demand can lead to dehydration, and this has a lot of negative effects and complications to the body. 
Dehydration, which is a medical condition signifying lack of water or body fluids in our body, presents with the following symptoms: 

  • Feeling thirsty 
  • Dark yellow and strong smelling urine 
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed 
  • Feeling tired 
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes 
  • Producing a little amount of urine during urination and urinating fewer than 4 times a day 

According to NHS, dehydration happens more easily in the following disease conditions: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Heatstroke 
  • Being drunk 
  • Excessive sweating of any etiology 
  • A high temperature of 38C and above 
  • Being on a class of drugs called diuretic (diuretics make you to urinate more) 

What quantity of water should we drink daily?  

The quantity of water we should drink daily is dependent on so many factors such as:

  1. Gender 
  2. Age 
  3. Health condition 
  4. Our daily activities 
  5. Weather condition 
  6. Location 

1. Gender 

Men require more water in a day than women.  
Similarly, adults, including women, require more water in a day than children.
In a day, according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adult man is required to consume at least 3.7 litres of fluids.
Adult women, on the other hand, are required to consume at least 2.7 litres of fluids daily. 

Note this, the recommendation of the U.S National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine talks about fluids not just water.
That’s the reason we used the word, “consume” instead of drink.

In a day, you can get fluids from other things other than water. This could include solid foods, beverages, wine of different types, fruits and vegetables etc.

2. Age 

The amount of water adults require in a day is different from that required by children. 
Healthy children require less amount of water than healthy adults daily. 
The daily water requirement for Children is as follows:

  • Toddlers: 2 to 4 cups/glasses of water
  • 5 to 8 years: 1 litre of water
  • 9 to 12 years: 1.5 litres of water
  • 13 years and above: 2 litres of water.

Litre to glass equivalent (≈) is as follows:

  • 1 litre is equivalent to 5 glasses
  • 1.5 litres ≈7 glasses
  • 2 litres ≈ 8 to 10 glasses.

3. Health conditions 

A healthy man and an unhealthy man may have varied needs for water in terms of quantity. 
Pregnancy makes women require more water than it is normal for nonpregnant women.
There are disease conditions that lead to a great water loss from our body. 
Conditions such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc. make us lose a lot of water. 
It is therefore imperative that we consume a lot of water in the presence of these disease conditions to stay hydrated. 
In some cases, drinking water may not be enough to replace the amount of water and fluids we are losing as a result of these disease conditions. 
It is, therefore, important that we get this water from drip (intravenous fluids) such as dextrose water. 

4. Our daily activities 

Water is lost from our body daily. This is independent of our activities. 
Whether we engage in activities or not in a day, it is certain that we will lose some quantity of water that day. 
The amount we will lose is, however, affected by our activities. 
There are activities that increase the rate at which we lose water from our body. 
Exercising, engaging in strenuous work both make us sweat more (and this translates to more water loss). 
When we are engaging in strenuous work or exercise, we are required to drink more water than normal to balance the lost ones through profuse sweating.
Please note that we also lose a lot of water through breathing during exercise or strenuous work.

5. Weather condition 

The amount of water we should drink in a day is dependent on the weather condition of that day or season. 
In summer, for instance, we need to drink more water than normal. 
In a cold rainy day, we may require less water as the rate of water loss in such days are small. 
Temperature of 38ºC and more can dehydrate us.
If we experience this type of extremely high temperature, then it is recommended that we drink more water (than the daily requirement) to be able to stay hydrated and healthy.
We should have noted that high temperature makes us sweat profusely, thereby causing us to lose too much water. 
To remain hydrated and healthy in this condition and in an area of high temperature (tropical region), we need to be drinking water as often as possible. 

6. Location 

We have tropical and temperate regions.
The temperature of these regions vary to a great extent. 
The amount of water people living in tropical region require in a day should be higher than the amount those living in temperate region require. 
This is because tropical region has a higher temperature when compared to the temperate region. 
If anything should get you in a desert (Sahara desert for instance), then you should be prepared to drink more water than the normal daily requirement. 
In fact, go with enough litres of water, as you will literally be needing it every minute to stay hydrated.
People actually die due to dehydration in deserts. 

Conclusion 

The amount of water we are to drink daily is not fixed. It depends on a lot of factors, as discussed above. 
In all, do not wait until you become thirsty before you drink water. 
A feel of thirsty actually shows that you are already getting dehydrated.
Drink water at an interval as often as possible. 
Drinking enough water daily actually helps us to stay healthy as it helps in keeping away a number of ailments. 

REFERENCES

  1. LAWRENCE J. APPEL. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10925.
  2. Hydration tips for children. Australian Health Direct. Reviewed January 2020. Accessed 17th June, 2022.
  3. Dehydration. NHS. Accessed 17th June, 2022.
  4. Armstrong LE, et al. Water intake, water balance, and the elusive daily water requirement. Nutrients. 2018; doi:10.3390/nu10121928.
  5. Regina Boyle Wheeler. Smart Sips for Healthy Kids. WebMD. Reviewed: April 23, 2016. Accessed: June 20, 2022.