Water Facts

About 60% of your body weight is made of water. You need it for every single body function. It flushes toxins from your organs, carries nutrients to your cells, cushions your joints, and helps you digest the food you eat.

If you don’t get enough water, you can become dehydrated. Severe cases of dehydration can cause dizziness, confusion, and even seizures.

8 Glasses of Water Each Day -- Really?

We’ve all heard that’s best. But the truth is, how much water you need varies, depending on how active you are and what type of climate you live in, among other things. Even if you’re not very active or live in a humid climate, you lose water every day through your breath, sweat, pee, and bowel movements.

For men, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a total of 13 cups (about 3 liters) of fluid -- period -- each day. For women, they suggest 9 cups (a little over 2 liters) of fluid -- total -- each day. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups of water daily. Those who breastfeed need about 12 cups.

If you’re outside on a hot day, or doing something that makes you sweat a lot, you’ll need to drink more fluids to stay hydrated. The same is true if you have an illness that causes you to throw up, have diarrhea, or run a fever.

But if you have a condition like heart failure or a particular type of kidney disease, you may need to limit your fluid intake. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

What About Kids?

Like adults, how much water children need depends on many things, like their age, how much they weigh, and their gender. Other things that play a role include how healthy and active they are, and what the climate is like where they live.

In general, children and teens need about 6 to 8 cups of water a day. They should also eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, which are full of water.

During play or exercise, a good goal is to drink a half cup to 2 cups of water every 15 to 20 minutes.