How much water should you drink a day?

Steph Weekes Steph Weekes Registered Nutritional Therapist
Working out how much water you need to drink every day to stay hydrated can be difficult. Your age, weight, overall health, and the temperature outside all play a role in determining how much you need to stay healthy.

Key takeaways

  • Current UK guidance indicates we should be drinking around 6 to 8 glasses of fluid per day
  • Without water, we can quickly become fatigued and disorientated
  • How much we need all depends on our age, weight, and exercise routine
  • Other drinks like tea and squash can also help us stay hydrated
  • Drinking enough typically gets harder as we age

Why is drinking water so important?

Because approximately 60% of our body is made up of water, all the bodily functions and processes that keep us alive require it.

To keep things running smoothly, we need to hydrate our cells, get rid of waste, and spread nutrients around the body. All of this is impossible without water.

What are the benefits of drinking water?

The benefits of staying hydrated and drinking enough water include:

  • Increased energy
  • Better mental clarity
  • Healthier skin (keeping it wrinkle free for longer!)
  • Improved digestion
  • Detoxification
  • Reduced strain on our organs

How much water is right for me?

How much water we need to drink all depends on our age, size, and exercise routine. A good starting point is to try and drink 35ml of water for every kilogram of body weight.

For example:

  • If you weigh 72kg (159lbs), you should aim to drink around 2.5l of water per day
  • If you weigh 85kg (188lbs), you should aim to drink around 3l of water per day
  • If you weigh 100kg (220lbs), you should aim to drink around 3.5l of water per day

How much is too much?

Just like determining how much water is right for you, this all depends on the person and the environment they live in. 

If we drink too much water, we risk losing valuable minerals like salt and potassium in our urine. If we drink too little, these minerals can start to crystalise and form kidney stones.

It’s important to remember that it’s a lot easier to feel dehydrated than it is to feel overhydrated. To work out what’s best for you, find out how much you need based on the guidance above and stick to it, with some fluctuations if you’re working out or sweating more than usual.

Does exercise influence how much water we should drink?

Yes, if you’re hotter and sweating more during exercise, you will need to drink more fluid to replenish what you’ve lost.

Is tap water okay?

Whilst tap water is better than no water, filtered water is best because it can remove impurities and contaminants.

Signs you're hydrated

  • You don’t feel thirsty
  • You don’t have a dry mouth
  • Your urine is clear and light in colour
  • You aren’t going long periods without using the toilet
  • You have the energy to get things done
  • You aren’t feeling overly tired or fatigued

Signs you're not drinking enough

When our body isn’t getting enough water, we start to feel dehydrated. This means the body is losing more fluid than it’s taking in.

We all feel dehydrated from time to time, but in some cases it can be a sign of something more serious. If you’re drinking regularly and still feeling dehydrated, see a GP as soon as possible.

Some common signs of dehydration include:

  • You’re feeling sluggish and tired
  • You can’t think clearly
  • Your urine is dark in colour
  • You’re thirsty
  • You lack the energy to get things done
  • You frequently experience headaches or migraines
  • You’re constipated and don’t use the toilet regularly

Using a filter jug can also help you keep track of how much you’re drinking throughout the day.

Is water the only option?

Water is the best drink for keeping us hydrated because it’s free from added sugar, sweeteners, and caffeine.

If you’re not a fan of water, you can always flavour it with fresh mint, lime, lemon juice, berries, strawberries, fresh ginger, or cucumber. Herbal teas are another great way to stay hydrated, particularly during the winter months.

Try to avoid squashes where possible as they contain large amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners.

The bottom line

Water is vital for everything we do. Without it, we’ll quickly become lethargic, tired, and dehydrated. This prevents us from thinking clearly and having the energy to do anything physical.

Drinking enough water throughout the day should form one of the base pillars that make up our overall health. Try to get hydrated when you wake up and maintain that level throughout the day.

Doing this means your body can maintain essential background processes like basic cognitive functioning, body temperature regulation, digestion support, and toxin removal.

Last updated Monday 4 March 2024

First published on Monday 4 March 2024