How Much is Too Much? The Myth of Drinking Water

One of the most long standing debates in the world of health and fitness revolves around the subject of water.

You know that it’s essential for life but what you may not know is exactly how much you should be drinking. Every celebrity doctor you see on television or read about has his or her own suggestions for water consumption but is there one universal guideline?

Let’s take a look at the most prevalent water drinking myth and set the record straight.

Do I Need 8 Glasses a Day?


It is all dependent on lifestyle. This idea of drinking eight glasses per day has no real scientific backing as a universal figure. Yes, some people will thrive off of eight glasses while others may not see any additional benefit.

For the average person, eight glasses a day probably doesn’t apply. Most people work desk jobs in nice climate controlled buildings. They aren’t physically exhausting themselves and they aren’t sweating profusely. In this case, eight glasses a day may be too much. It won’t hurt you to drink that much but it certainly isn’t necessary. For others, eight glasses may not be enough.

The Truth about How Much You Need

Everyone is different.

Everyone leads different lives, works different jobs, and performs different levels of physical activity. Not to mention the role of genetics. These are the reasons there is not and cannot be a universal figure to live by.

How much water you need to drink is going to be based on a number of factors but here are a few you can closely monitor:


  • The most obvious factor is also the one that’s ignored the most. Thirst is your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to consume water.
  • Feeling thirst? Drink water, tea, or black coffee. Avoid the sugar and sweeteners.

Physical Activity Level

  • How physically active are you throughout the day? As mentioned above, if you work at a desk job, your need for water will be lower than someone who works in construction.
  • If you have an active job or you are very physically active outside of work (weight training, cardio, fitness classes, etc) then you will need more water than the average person. The eight glasses rule may be ideal for you.
  • Professional athletes need to consume far more than the eight glasses a day.


  • Where you live plays a big part in the amount of water you need. If you’re living in a hot and humid climate, you must drink more water.

Health Condition

  • Certain diseases, illnesses, and medications will put a big strain on your body, requiring you to drink more fluids throughout the day. Remember to listen to your body, especially if you are feeling thirsty.

Best Times to Drink Water

While we all have different water requirements, one thing that can be agreed upon is water timing. The two most important times to drink water are as soon as you wake up and before you go to bed. One will get bodily processes moving and the other will help recovery while you sleep.


Tell Us What You Think!

How much water do you drink a day?

Have you seen any benefits from increasing or decreasing your water consumption?

Let us know in the comments section below!


Barry M. Popkin, Kristen E. D’Anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug; 68(8): 439–458.

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