Hydration criticial to good health, but how much?

There is one question that I am asked above all others when it comes to exercise and healthy activity. That question is how much water should I drink each day, before, during and after exercise? This question has such a diverse set of answers, it is very hard to separate fact from fiction.

Since there is so much fiction around daily hydration, let’s see if we can boil this down to something close to reality.

First of all, numerous studies have debunked the long standing 8X8 water standard. This idea that we need to drink at least eight ounces of water eight times a day to maintain a healthy hydration level is simply not true. The variables across food intake, body size, activity levels and health-related aspects for each of us makes a one-size-fits-all hydration standard faulty.

The other aspect to figuring out how much water intake should be consumed daily comes in the form of interpretation of what is a water source.

Many people, especially people who consume healthy fruits and vegetables everyday, are getting a fair amount of water from what they eat. The other part that makes up your daily water intake is in the form of coffee, tea and other beverages. Some experts say these drinks do not count as water intake, yet you are retaining a fair amount of water when you drink these fluids.

Now if you assume the 8X8 water intake is true, that adds up to a half a gallon of water each day, excluding water you’re getting from food and other beverages.

For those of us who prescribe to this idea that we are getting over half a gallon of water each day, that is a lot of hydration. This begs the question “Do I need that much water each day?”

This requires us to understand a few key points on daily water loss from factors like diuretic properties of caffeinated drinks, high sodium levels of processed foods and, of course, the dehydrating effect of strenuous activity. The general consensus from a number of studies is it all depends on you, your lifestyle and your level of health.

Let’s also take a look at yet another daily hydration calculation used by some dietitians and nutritionists which is based on a daily allowance of water tied to your daily intake of calories.

In this example, it is roughly figured if you have a daily intake of say 1,500 calories a day, you would need roughly 50 ounces of water in a 24-hour period. Again, this formula lacks the detail of water from the food you eat and other fluid intake each day. Since dietitians and nutritionists lack a perfect formula, some find this approach a good guideline for folks dieting or people trying to improve from poor health.

As you can see, building a formula that acts as an all-in-one guide for daily water consumption is tricky and always lacks accuracy. The fact that none of these daily hydration recommendations take into account your intake of hydrating fluids from other sources becomes a challenge.

The second challenge is factoring in each person’s exertion levels from physical activity.

Physical activity is where we have to toss out any one-size-fits-all formula for hydration. This is due to the fact that we all have different body types, muscle density and rates at which we perspire or sweat.

Depending on the exertion levels and duration of exercise, each of us can use up our body’s water from a low 8 ounces to 50-plus ounces an hour or higher. Other factors that can also change this rate of water loss are climate, temperature, altitude, arid conditions, terrain and so forth.

This brings us to the big question of how much water intake do we need each day?

Here is my advice on how to approach this question. Keep in mind, there is no ideal amount of hydration for our bodies, we all have unique needs.

First, take a look at the overall foods you eat and the beverages you consume on a daily basis to get a good understanding of your general fluid intake. Once you have come up with what you think is an accurate amount of daily water intake, determine if you feel well hydrated.

It is important to note that it is estimated 75 percent of the U.S. population is chronically dehydrated, so listen to your body and don’t underestimate your hydration.

Things you can do to help with your daily hydration is to eat a good percentage of raw health foods and drink water with each meal instead of other beverages. If you start to feel thirsty during the day, it is your body’s early warning sign of the potential onset of dehydration. Be mindful of your body’s cues that you need water and have a water bottle handy to address the need.

As for exercise and athletic events that place a high demand on your body’s hydration levels, follow this simple strategy. For most people, eight to 14 ounces of water before exercise or an athletic event is a simple rule of thumb. Then if the exercise or event lasts longer than 20 minutes, try to rehydrate with six ounces of fluids every 20 to 30 minutes.

If the weather is hot or your exertion levels are very high, up that to eight or 12 ounces every 20 to 30 minutes. During recovery after exercise, start by slowly drinking small amounts of fluids, then continue until you feel fully hydrated.

Elite athletes work a number of different formulas based on starting body weight, then weighing in to see how much water was lost. They use this guideline to ensure proper water replacement. This can be a major factor in proper recovery and allowing the body to repair itself effectively after a long endurance workout or event.

​This weigh-in/weigh-out model does not work well for the average active person with shorter workout intervals, so your best bet is to listen to your body and thirst levels, then hydrate until you are comfortable. I know there are a number of very well respected fitness professionals and websites that will give you a one-size-fits-all method, but honestly these are at best a guideline and may or may meet your individual needs for proper hydration.


Judd Jones is a Certified Primal Health Coach and Fitness Consultant. He can be reached at jjones@cdapress.com and www.jhanawellness.com.

  1. Charlie Chimknee April 10, 2019 9:20 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou, and Mahalo Judd Jones,

    May we add…that the body itself gives us clear signals of need for drinking water.

    First of all our ancient ancestors and those old enough on Kauai never had drinking water additives like Chlorine and Flouride in our water, though Flouride we understand is only a threat for the future…as in someone selling an industrial wasteproduct..

    Human water needing signals, or warning signs, are simple and the first starts at the beginning of our Gastrointestinal Tract, called the GI Tract.

    The GI TRACT, not to be confused with the GI Newspaper, consists of several parts starting with the lips of your mouth.

    The mouth has 6 salivary glands, 3 on each side, on the side inside the lower jaw towards the back and outside of the teeth; and they each secrete into your mouth digestive enzymes that begin digestion or the breaking down of your food so it can eventually go into your body via the small intestine and then into your cells for body energy fuel and replacement parts for your cells.

    Remember cells make up our tissues, and tissues make up body parts like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fluid vessels like arteries, veins, and lymph vessels; and also of course all of our organs, etc., and the entire nervous system.

    Some cells are entirely replaced (regeneration), and some have their parts or contents replaced (rejuvenation); and let’s not forget the first organ to differentiate in our bodies after conception and most Important of all…the Nervous System…the body’s Computer really.

    All cells require lots of water. As humans we are a mostly water soluble complex living natural machines. Our Creator intended for us to thrive on live natural food, not factory or laboratory or petrochemical food or drugs.

    In order for your salivary glands to secrete the digestive enzymes into your mouth it requires water to carry them and this is what helps to keep your mouth from not feeling, getting, dry.

    Alpha amylase is one enzyme that the salivary glands secrete into our mouth and it begins the process of digesting sugars.

    The salivary glands, if you are lucky in childhood, swell up as perhaps part of their natural development to continue a lifetime of enzyme development. This salivary gland swelling is called the Mumps, and naturally provides a Lifetime Immunity from ever occurring again.

    Many people get the Mumps virus naturally as children and undergo the natural process, but develop no illness symptoms but do gain a lifetime of immunity from ever getting the virus again to the point where it produces disease symptoms.

    Moving on, so if your mouth feels dry, you are in dire need of water…so go for it. If your mouth is dry a horrible thing happens…the 2 major minerals that make up you teeth, calcium and phosphorus, in the absence of saliva, or moisture in your mouth, actually fall out of your teeth, called dissolving. This means cavities, and unhealthy teeth for you. Keep your mouth hydrated so you do not lose precious tooth minerals. Water, moisture, in your mouth comes from your blood stream and the glands that move water from your blood stream into your mouth, as well as the mucosal lining of your mouth. The mucus membranes deliver much of the water into our mouths.

    This may suggest you only need a one time, once in a lifetime, salivary gland swelling occurrence in your youth for a lifetime of normal function to your salivary glands. Some people thinks the mumps are the body’s enemy and should be vaccinated by giving you injected killed Mumps virus, but then these same people think that all bacteria are bad and need killing as well, and they over prescribe antibiotics (“against life”) and weaken your immune system over repeated usage of antibiotics.

    Every part of your GI Tract relies on water, the mouth, throat, stomach, small intestine (has 3 parts: Duodenum, Jejunum, and the Ileum, these must be all ancient Latin words), and colon and rectum, or anus.

    Your stomach also uses a lot of water to bring in more digestive materials like hydrochloric acid to digest or breakdown the proteins you are eating. Actually hydrochloric acid actually “melts” the protein in our food before sending it along to the small intestine where it enters the body through the gut wall and then into the blood stream; and the Nervous System makes sure the digested nutrients are delivered to where each is needed in the vast areas of your body. How’s that for a menu with a billion waiters.

    So never let your mouth go dry for lack of digestion and damage to your teeth. The fluid vessels in your teeth, called Dentine Tubules, carry water and also nutrients to the inside of your teeth. We have about 300 yards of Dentine Tubules in each tooth. They use water to carry nutrients to your teeth. Drink plenty water. Drilling your teeth permanently destroys the Dentine Tubules, leaving you less able to bring nutrients into your teeth.

    The small intestine uses lots of water to carry more digestive enzymes to mix with and digest our food, or take apart your food really, so it can pass through as tiny particles, through the gut wall, into the blood vessels surrounding the GI Tract, the blood vessels are also filled with lots of water, and deliver the tiny food particles, nutrients, to our body’s cells. Cells have and need lots of water in them too.

    The Large Intestine, or large bowel, or colon, is where the waste products of our food are kept for several hours before excretion in a bowel movement. Never miss a day of bowel movement(s). If your stool, or feces are hard or dry, or if you are constipated, this is an emergency warning that you are dehydrated and need much water on a routine basis, daily, even hourly.

    Constipation is also a sign of eating processed food, over use of alcohol, and/or medical drugs, especially opiates.

    Constipation is a horrible sign that can tell you that your appendix may be suffering, and also you may be on the way, if not already, to hemorrhoids, polyps, bleeding ulcers, rectal bleeding, and very much rectal or anal pain and more bleeding. These malfunctions are some of the signs of horrible diet, SAD, Standard American Diet, that is proven to be guaranteed to make you think you need medical care when in fact you may need diet care. Don’t get MAD, that is the acronym for Modern American Diet. Water serves to prevent many disease conditions. Water is a part of Proactive Health…we are not alone, all living things need it.

    Some dietary professionals claim when we defecate it should be like cow defecation. Our colon should have a mass movement and all at once your colon should excrete, by involuntary muscle movement, the contents of your colon, but not exerting “logs” of feces, but more like a “Cow pie”…a pile of manure seen in the pasture. Some people think those logs are healthy but they can mean a degree of dehydration. However the “cow pie” appearance may make some people think they are having diarrhea, but apparently that may not be true. A bowel movement should not be too watery as that would dehydrate you and be a diarrhea and a sign of illness.

    We have read where it says that the colon reabsorbs 2 quarts of water a day from your water soluble blood vessels surrounding the colon. If true that is more proof that we need significant water during the day. So set your cell phone alarm and drink up.

    Any Alcohol attaches to our water molecules and so we lose water drinking alcohol. So drink water with alcohol to protect your health, or better advice would be eliminate alcohol entirely.

    Notice we kept repeating the words “water soluble”. The fat in animal meat, flesh, muscles, etc., is not water soluble and when it gets into our blood or lymph vessels it clogs them up so the freedom of our blood flow and it’s contents are not freely moveable or flowable. This clogging or congestion is part of Heart Disease and Stroke. Anyone, well everyone should know that water and oil do not mix, animal fat is an oil substance, as are cooking oils…they clog your arteries including your heart and brain’s arteries.

    Much is being written about the particles of plastic in bottles of drinking water or any fluid or eating food from any plastic bottle or container. Plastic was never intended by our creator to be ingested into the body or carried by our water soluble blood stream to the brain; especially since now chemical food additives while chemically mixing food ingredients also can penetrate the protective Blood Brain Barrier and these chemicals are allowing un-intended chemicals into our brains causing a new medical diagnosis of Broken Brain. Search that on the internet.

    Plastic micro particles are going into our food and drinks. Good thing we know that now than later. Prevention of disease is preferred over dangerous treatments.

    Mahalo for reading,


    1. Just Cuz April 10, 2019 2:37 pm Reply

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………………. oh, good comment Charles.

      1. charlie chimknee April 10, 2019 8:56 pm Reply

        Aloha, apologies in my morning haste to add insight and info by comments given, I forgot to mention that dehydration puts a dampener on ones ability to read multi-task challenging dialogue.

        Common effects are drowsiness and vertical sleep due to lack of hydration and thus ones inability to get oxygenated blood into ones brain causing a fog and failure of comprehension.

        This is horrible if you are a student, and if you are past school age it is like cutting your IQ into polyester ribbons.

        Stay tuned, if you can, there will be more and always challenging…with Aloha.


        Charles…oh, not everyone can see every idea that passes over their head…but keep looking up some may just swoop right down into your brain…and provide some enlightenment.

  2. charlie chimknee April 10, 2019 9:02 pm Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Another upside to water, unlike alcohol, water pretty much tells you when you’ve had enough for the time being.

    That’s: WATER – 1 ALKY – 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.