Water is one of the most abundant resources on the planet, and the most foundational component of all known biological organisms. According to research, anywhere between 50 - 65% of an adult's body is composed of water. That amount largely depends upon age, with infants and young children typically averaging around 80% of their weight from water.
We're all aware of the importance of drinking water on a regular basis, but how much water do we really need to consume?
It depends on many factors, such as weight, age, sex, body composition, fitness level, level of activity, etc. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 l) and for women is about 9 cups (2.2 l) of total beverages a day.
There are a few important factors to remember, however. Muscle mass retains more water than fat, so your daily water requirements might be higher than those of someone with a higher body fat percentage but the same total body weight as you. It is also important to note that an adult female's body composition will always have a significantly higher fat percentage than that of a male's. A very active, athletic young woman will more than likely have a body fat percentage in the low-to-mid teens, somewhere between 12-14%, which would be considered relatively high for a male athlete. Professional male bodybuilders can reduce their body fat percentage prior to a competition to as low as 5%.
Moreover, if you exercise on a consistent basis, your water needs will be much higher than those of a person who leads a passive lifestyle. According to the rule of thumb used by fitness professionals in this particular situation, for every hour spent in the gym, a whole litre of additional water should be consumed in order to replenish the amount used. Your particular exercise choices are also strong determining factors.
Practising yoga while being mildly dehydrated might lead to a slight drop in performance, which could be practically unnoticeable however, running a 5k while being mildly dehydrated significantly increases the risk of injury. Drinking plenty of water is absolutely necessary in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. Water is necessary for every chemical reaction and organ of the human body.
Are you drinking enough water? Often at the first signs of thirst, the body is already mildly dehydrated. If you’re unsure whether you’re drinking enough, it’s often helpful to fill a large measured bottle and drink from that slowly throughout the day. It’ll become a healthy habit before you know it!