The equivalent of eight eight ounce glasses of water a day is what is recommended and discussed by many sources, although this is only an easy to remember guideline. Sources such as the Mayo Clinic, www.canadianliving.com, and the Canada Food Guide(http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php) all weigh in with their own theories about the "8 glasses of water a day" rule and how each person's water requirements are different.
The amount of water consumed should be greater, of course, for anyone that may sweat profusely throughout the day. This includes athletes who train or compete at a high level of fitness. People who get exercise throughout the day at work, such as postmen, delivery drivers, or construction workers also need to take care to drink enough water. For those who labour or train in the hot sun, drinking water to avoid dehydration is of the utmost importance.
Drinks like coffee, tea, or some pop, which contain mostly water are not the equivalent to water because of the presence of caffeine. Caffeine acts as a mild diuretic, keeping water away from vital parts of the body that need rehydration.
On how to drink water
Warm water, rather than cold water, is recommended first thing in the morning. After a solid night's sleep, the body wakes up slightly dehydrated and water, not coffee is the best thing to put into your system. Warm water stands to be better absorbed in the stomach, which of course is nice and warm all the time. You might think that an icy cold drink is what will hit the spot, but room temperature water does a better job of actually quenching your thirst.
Sip, don't gulp
Rather than drinking a bunch of water at once, which is not at all recommended, sip water throughout your day, workout, game, or race. Drinking too much water too fast can lead to hyponatremia, or water intoxication, which is almost as unpleasant and undesireable as dehydration.
And a final point to remember; if you feel "thirsty", your lack of hydration is already at a high level, and will adversely affect your athletic performance. This being said, it is still not advisable to drink a massive amount of fluid to gain hydration back. Sip slowly, allowing the body to absorb and utilize water in its own time.
Next: Why it is important to start your day off with water.