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How much water is enough?

posted Jan 29, 2013, 5:25 PM by Susan Bernhardt   [ updated Jan 29, 2013, 5:25 PM ]

It depends, of course. I’ve seen a lot of advice to drink 8 cups (64 ounces) a day. That makes no sense to me. How is it that I (at a bit less than 5’ tall) could need the same amount of water as a 220 lb. man? Others advise one amount for men and another for women. The same point holds – I probably need less water than a woman who weighs 50 lbs. more.

Here’s a guideline that makes a lot more sense to me as starting point: drink half your weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 lbs, half of that is 75, so you would drink 75 ounces of water a day. If you weigh 110 lbs, 55 ounces would be more like it. Is this the end of the story? Of course not. Are you in Phoenix in the summer, or in Minneapolis in the winter? Did you sweat a lot during your workout, or spend the day in a cold office? According to Ayurveda, your body type also is a factor to consider. Some people tend to run hot (the “pitta” constitution), others have a tendency to being dry and cold (“vata” constitution), and others to cool dampness (“kapha” constitution). Kapha generally needs less water than pitta and vata.

Whatever you decide on for a target, sometimes it can help to have a system to track how much you have had. Ayurveda advises starting the day with a cup of water – try warm for vata and kapha, room temperature for pitta. That’s 8 ounces out of the way. From there, use a refillable bottle. Figure out how much it holds, and then how many times you need to refill it during the day to hit your target. It can be a lot easier than tracking the number of glasses.