Do a quick search on “how much water should I drink” and you’re likely to get a variety of answers on the “right” amount to drink on a daily basis. So what IS the right amount of water you should be drinking and how important is it, really?

Dr. Brooke recommends this simple formula for calculating your minimum water intake: how much you weigh in lbs, divided by two. That is your magic number in ounces of water each day! For example, a person weighing 140 lbs should drink 70 ounces of water every day (140/2=70) or about 2 L (think of a full size soda bottle). This is the recommended minimum so if you’re exercising and sweating profusely, living in a hot climate, pregnant or breastfeeding you probably need even more.

What’s the big deal about getting enough water? First and foremore to replace what’s lost during the day through “skin evaporation, breathing, urine and stool” according to Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD in this WebMD article. Dehydration can lead to a host of health problems including headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, joint pain, skin disorders and premature wrinkling, and in severe cases kidney failure. There is also evidence to suggest that drinking water before a meal leads to an average of 75 fewer calories consumed.

Do you have any great tips on how to get in those extra ounces? Comment below and stay connected via Facebook and Twitter to see some of my secrets later in the week!

*The information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose or serve as a replacement for medical advice. Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Brooke or your physician before changing your exercise or diet, including adding supplements. If you experience any pain or discomfort during or after exercise that you think may be more serious, stop and call Dr. Brooke or your medical practitioner immediately.