Stop us if you’ve heard one of these before: You’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water per day. Or maybe, bottled water has more health benefits than tap water. How about, you shouldn’t reuse single-use plastic water bottles? And don’t forget, water isn’t as good as sports drinks for sports and working out. Any other crazy myths out there about water?

When it comes to drinking water, we tend to assume that the age-old pieces of wisdom hold true. Well, it’s time to challenge them. Let’s improve your H2O IQ in our very own version of Mythbusters.

Myth #1: You should drink eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated.

In reality, that’s just a broad guesstimate for the population at large. For your own personal optimal hydration, you’ll have to take more factors in consideration. A good baseline is to take your weight (in pounds) and divide it by two- that’s how many ounces you should be drinking per day.

Then, depending on the day and your activity level, you’ll want to adjust that number. If you’re in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave, drink more water. If you’ve got a grueling workout planned, drink more water. On the other hand, if you have an especially sedentary day and the weather is cool, you can stick closer to the lower end of your hydration range.

Myth #2: Bottled water is healthier than tap water.

Sure, it’s tempting to believe that buying a water bottle with the words like “smart” on it is a better choice than filling your reusable water bottle with plain old tap water. But actually, reports have found that “bottled water may be no safer or healthier than tap water, while selling for up to 1,000 times the price.” In general, your city’s tap water has much stricter standards and regulations for water quality than bottled water. In fact, more than 25% of bottled water comes from a municipal supply- the same stuff you get from your tap, for free.

Drinking tap water can help prevent tooth decay

Our takeaway? Drinking water has tons of health benefits — which we’re all for — but bottled water doesn’t give you any superpowers that you can’t get from tap water. Save your dollars for the Beyonce concert and put your BPA-free reusable water bottle to use.

Myth #3: You should reuse single-use plastic water bottles.

Speaking of bottled water, many people try to undo the damaging effects of buying single-use plastic water bottles by rinsing them out and using them a few more times (quick reminder: what we call a single-use plastic water bottle is one of those clear, plastic water bottles you pick up at the grocery store or gas station, drink, and then toss in the recycling bin). While we applaud your pure intentions, you’re not doing yourself any favors. After you’ve used these bottles a few times, they leak chemicals into your water. Plus, the bottle can hang onto bacteria from your mouth, and bacteria also lurk in the cracks of the plastic.

BPA-free reusable water bottles, on the other hand, are safe for refilling and can stand up to thorough cleaning in the top rack of your dishwasher (not to mention, your options for reusable water bottles are a lot easier on the eyes than toting around a battered plastic water bottle). Plus, by using a reusable water bottle, you can save as many as 217 disposable plastic bottles a year.

Myth #4: You should drink sports drinks instead of water during a workout.

Okay, we know Gatorade commercials are awesome to watch and all, but the truth is, water will do just fine for most of your fitness needs. While you may love the taste of blue Gatorade or some vitamin-enhanced water, it’s not necessary for your run-of-the-(tread)mill gym session. In fact, these sports drinks can have hidden sugars; a 20oz Gatorade, for example, has 9 teaspoons of sugar (for reference, the American Heart Association recommends that adult women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and men, no more than 9 teaspoons). Drinking water before and during a workout helps your muscles maintain a balance of fluids and electrolytes, which is necessary for hitting your fastest treadmill sprint ever.

Drink water from a reusable BPA-free water bottle before and during exercise

One exception worth noting for the marathon runners out there: sipping occasionally on a sports drink becomes necessary during endurance activities of over an hour, because you’ll need to replace the salt you lose sweating heavily over long periods of time. Just make sure to continue hydrating with water too as you log those miles.

 

Sounds dramatic, but water is the basis of life- and maybe its prevalence in our lives is why there are so many myths surrounding how you should be drinking it. Bottom line? Drink water, drink it often, and drink it from a reusable water bottle. Your body (and the planet) will thank you.

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