Staying hydrated is crucial to maintain good health. Water is essential for many bodily functions. Drinking enough water daily can improve brain function, mood, digestion, exercise, performance, help regulate body temperature, protect against kidney stones and prevent constipation.

How Much Water Should You Drink Daily? 

The water you need can vary depending on age, gender, weight, activity level, and climate. As a general guideline, the Institute of Medicine recommends that men aim for around 3.7 litres (about 13 cups) of total water intake per day. In contrast, women should aim for approximately 2.7 litres (about 9 cups) of daily water intake.

Body Size And Weight

Body size and weight can affect the water intake needed for optimal hydration. Generally, bigger individuals require more water than smaller individuals. Those more physically active may also need more water to replace fluids lost through sweat.

In addition, a person’s body composition can also affect their water needs. For example, individuals with more muscle mass may need more water than those with less muscle mass, as muscles are made up of a high percentage of water.

It’s essential to listen to your body’s signals of thirst and consider other factors affecting your water needs, such as climate and activity level. Staying hydrated and drinking enough water throughout the day can help maintain good health and promote optimal bodily function.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is a significant factor that affects how much water you need to drink. When you exercise, your body loses water through sweat, which can lead to dehydration if you don’t replenish fluids. Dehydration can impair exercise performance and increase the risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.

To stay hydrated during physical activity, it’s essential to drink water regularly throughout the day, especially in the hours leading up to exercise. Aim to drink water every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise, even if you don’t feel thirsty, as thirst is not always an accurate indicator of hydration status.

According to the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA), it is recommended to drink approximately 500 to 600 ml of water two to three hours before exercising and then another 250 ml of water 20 to 30 minutes before training. During exercise, it is advised to drink 200 to 300 ml of water every 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the intensity and duration of the activity. After exercising, continue to drink water to replace fluids lost during exercise and promote recovery.

In addition to water, sports drinks may also benefit athletes engaging in high-intensity or endurance exercise, as they can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. However, it’s important to be mindful of the sugar and calorie content in the sports drinks you choose. It’s ideal to those with minimal added sugars or opt for low-calorie electrolyte replacement drinks.

By staying hydrated during physical activity, you can help maintain optimal performance and reduce the risk of dehydration and associated health risks.


Your climate can also affect how much water you need to drink. In hot and humid weather, your body loses more water through sweating, and you must drink more to stay hydrated. Contrary, in cold and dry weather, your body loses less water through sweating, and you may not need to drink as much water to stay hydrated.

In hot and humid weather, the body loses more water through sweating to help regulate your body temperature. As a result, individuals living in hot and humid climates may require more water intake to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration.

In addition, people living in high-altitude environments may also need to increase their water intake, as higher altitudes can lead to increased breathing and loss of bodily fluids.

Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can also affect how much water you need to drink. For example, people with kidney disease or heart failure may need to limit their water intake, while people with diabetes may need to drink more water to prevent dehydration.

Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to drink more water than the average person to support their increased metabolic needs and the needs of their developing fetus or infant.

Alternative Sources for Hydration

You can also get water from other sources throughout the day. 

For example, many fruits and vegetables have a high water content, so incorporating these foods into your diet can help you stay hydrated. 

Other alternatives to drinking water include the following.

  1. Tea
  2. Coffee
  3. Soup
  4. Low-sugar sports drinks
  5. Low-sugar electrolyte replacement drinks

Be mindful of the sugar and calorie content of these beverages, as well as their potential diuretic effects. This means they help your body get rid of salt and water, which can lead to dehydration. Water is generally the best choice for staying hydrated throughout the day.


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