Ask the Health Coach: How Much Water Should I Drink?

Eight glasses or ten? How much water is too much? Maura Manzo tackles a terrific reader question.

Dear Maura,
Can you please tell me how much water I should be drinking? I’m confused. I’ve heard eight cups a day, but I’ve also read about the dangers of flooding your organs. And what about if I’m working out? Please help.

~ Marlena M.

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Hi Marlena,

I love your question! I get asked it all the time. Water is a staple of life and I think we can all benefit from drinking a little more of it. It’s such a simple thing to incorporate but a lot of people are confused. So I’ll share with you with what I’ve always been taught, from the nutrition school I attended to naturopathic doctors I’ve consulted with. Ready? You should drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Yup, that’s right! So if you weigh 120 pounds, you should be drinking 60 ounces of H₂O each and every day.

I think this is the most important and easiest change people can incorporate into their lives to see transformative results. Period. To some of my clients, it seems crazy; they think they’ll never be able to do it. But then I ask them to take a minute and think about how much coffee, soda, iced tea and beer they normally drink in a given day. They soon realize it certainly is possible to take in that many fluid ounces.Imagine the calories and weight you could drop if you replaced those drinks with water.

When it comes to hydrating properly, the health benefits of drinking adequate amounts of water are innumerable: decreased appetite, increased metabolism, better digestion, sharper mental clarity, less cravings, balanced energy levels, more physical endurance, improved digestion and healthier skin, nails and hair. In his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, Iranian-born physician Fereydoon Batmanghelidj argues, “You aren’t just what you eat, you are what you drink.” His book goes on to detail many ways that water and overall health may be linked, from asthma to arthritis. Check it out if you’d like.

Of course, if you’re working out and sweating profusely, it’s a must to replace the lost fluids; that should be common sense. And when it comes to water intoxication or over hydration, my best advice is to work with a sports nutritionist to make sure you’re safely and properly replacing fluids; believe it or not, there is too much of a good thing when it comes to water (see: hyponatremia). But you probably won’t need to worry about this problem unless you’re planning on entering water drinking contests—which would be a whole other issue on its own.

So drink up! Try it every day for two weeks. See what happens. See how you feel. I’d be shocked if you didn’t notice an overall improvement in your health. I’d even dare to say you’re going to feel freakin’ excellent. If you don’t, call me. Please.

Cheers to your best health,

MM

Have a question for Maura? Email us, and your question could be answered in a future column!

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Maura Manzo is a yoga teacher and health coach specializing in integrating diet, health and wellness. She supports others in becoming their best possible selves. Maura is available for private instruction and coaching, as well as on-site corporate classes and speaking engagements. She is co-creator of the Beyond Asana 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training and the Art of Letting Go: Maya Tulum Mexican Yoga Vacation. Learn more about her teaching schedule, coaching practice and yoga trainings at www.mauramanzo.com.

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