How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?

We’ve all heard it: you have to drink eight glasses of water a day in order to stay healthy and hydrated. But how big of a glass? And is that number really accurate? Can we revisit this rule of thumb and get a better idea of how much water we all actually need?

Well, first of all, there’s no hard and fast rule. How much water you have to consume on a daily basis will vary depending on your sex, diet, size, climate, and activity level, among other variables. The best guideline isn’t even the number of glasses you drink. Rather, it’s best to keep an eye on your output. That is, you’ll know you’re hydrated if your urine is clear to pale yellow. Any darker and you need to drink some more.

But if you are looking for a general guideline to help you figure out a daily water intake goal, here goes. If you’re an average-sized man living in a temperate climate, aim for 3.7 liters. If you’re a woman, 2.7 liters will do. That’s 15.5 and 11.5 cups respectfully. And none of these numbers are eight, so you can throw that suggestion out the window.

The best thing to do, though? Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs.