How Much Water Do I Really Need?
We discuss water intake a lot in the office. Why? Water is crucial to the health of your joints, including your spine. It is thought that approximately 75% of the US population is chronically dehydrated. This simply means that over an extended period of time, we aren’t drinking enough water.
The impact of chronic dehydration includes:
- Elevated levels of inflammation will cause joint pain.
- Joint friction. Water is crucial to the production of synovial fluid, which lubricates joint surfaces.
- Toxic buildup. Water helps flush toxins out of the tissues of our body. For individuals with gout, not drinking enough water can lead to gout flares.
If joint pain isn’t enough, chronic dehydration also contributes to:
- frequent headaches
- decreased mental focus
So how much water should you drink? A minimum is 6-8 glasses a day. I encourage most people to drink half their weight in ounces. For example, a 200 pound adult should drink 100 ounces of water a day. This equals about 12-8 ounce glasses. If you’re not drinking enough water, this sounds like A LOT. Remember, eating fresh vegetables and fruits will add some water content to your diet! But also remember that caffeinated and/or carbonated beverages DO NOT count as water. These drinks will actually pull water out of your body, creating more dehydration.
If you’re not drinking a lot of water, it feels really hard to get started. I promise, once you get going, you will actually crave that drink of water. Here are some tips that helped me increase my water intake.
- Add fresh fruit to your water (orange, lime, or lemon slices). This gives it “taste” without caffeine, sugar, or a lot of calories.
- Carry water with you all day.
- Get a favorite insulated water bottle. For me, drinking 10 glasses of water sounded impossible – but drinking 3 bottles of water a day seemed easier.
- Start your day with water. Each morning, start the day with a glass of water. Yes, even before the coffee.