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Water is the source of all life. This is something that experts can confidently agree on. However, people seem to function on completely different amounts of water. So the question stands: how much water does the body actually need each day?

The human body is made up of around 60 percent water. The blood and organs use it constantly to function, but the body is constantly losing water through urination and sweating. In order to compensate and prevent dehydration, people need to make sure that they are drinking adequate amounts of water. This can differ depending on one’s lifestyle. For example, a person who runs seven miles per day, thus losing a lot more water than a sedentary person, will need to consume much more water. That being said, health authorities seem to agree that 64 ounces is the minimum standard for all people. This can be broken down to eight 8-ounce glasses, two liters, or half a gallon. However, there are health gurus out there who suggest constantly sipping water throughout the day, keeping the whistle wet regardless of whether one feels thirsty or not. With so many health benefits of drinking water, why not up the intake, right?

Staying hydrated is important for digestion, circulation, skin health, temperature control, and heart health, to name just a few. However, drinking more water has also been suggested to increase mental performance and mood. Being dehydrated depletes energy levels and disrupts cognitive processes, which, unsurprisingly, can put a person in a cranky, foul mood. In fact, research has shown that losing even a single percent of one’s body weight in fluid can dramatically reduce mental performance.

In addition to regulating brain and organ functioning, consuming enough water also improves physical performance. For athletes and those who exercise, controlling body temperature is critical when trying to perform. Dehydration increases feelings of tiredness and lethargy, reducing endurance and making the physical task feel more difficult. While energy and performance cannot be attributed to hydration alone, as scientists and physicians know of the crucial role of glucose obtained from food, drinking enough water is certainly one easy-to-control habit to adopt in order to feel good. Adding a glass of water for every 30 minutes of physical activity is a great way to ensure that the body is refueling after losing key fluids through sweat.