Understanding Body Water Percentage

What is body water?

The FitTrack Dara measures body water percentage. What does that mean and how can you improve your score?

Body water is the complete amount of fluid in a human body. The average human is between 55-65% water.

Whenever we go to the doctor’s we’re always asked, “Are you drinking enough water?” That’s because the water in our body is the primary building block of cells.


With it, our bodies work to cushion and lubricate joints, regulate temperature, and nourish the brain and spinal cord. Without it, our body wouldn’t properly function. In cases of dehydration, there can be notable drops in energy, mood, skin moisture, blood pressure, and signs of cognitive impairment.  

Other functions such as extracellular fluid, in particular the interstitial fluid, constitutes the body's internal environment that bathes all of the cells in the body, is also affected by body water intake that is crucial for normal body functions. 

Did You Know? Body water percentage is one of the 17 things the FitTrack Smart Scales Measure. 

Water and Hydration

A human can’t survive more than a few days without water. We’ve heard stories of lost hikers or people lost at sea having to go as far as to drink urine to survive.

See Related: Calculate Your BMI

That’s because, without some kind of liquid in the body, functions such as our heart beating, body fighting off infection, brain function, and more go weak and eventually stop working.

Even the simple act of breathing requires water. Over 300-400 milliliters of water are lost from breathing, a majority of it happening during sleep. 

Factors That Affect Body Water

lady drinking water

Location, fat index, age, and sex changes the range of water in the body that ranges between 55-60%. Human babies even more so at 75% body water until they reach lowering to 65% by their first birthday. 

Though we are made of a hefty amount of water, we need to drink a certain amount each day to prevent repercussions like dehydration. Each day we lose two to three liters of water through sweat, urine, and bowel movements!

We have to compensate for the fluid loss by drink up to 2.5-3.7 liters for an adult male and 2-2.7 liters of water for adult women, which depends largely on our weight and environment. This range can decline or increase largely based on if we are healthy, active, old, or overheating. 

The Dangers Of Dehydration

The repercussions of dehydration, not consuming enough liquid, can be severe.

10 Dangers Of Dehydration:

  1. Muscle Cramps- Many athletes suffer the misfortune of experience what is commonly known as a “Charlie Horse” when dehydrated, especially in outdoor sports where the heat can cause the body to excessively sweat with a rise in body temperature and therefore become dehydrated due to water loss in the body. Athletes are always suggested to consume electrolytes and potassium to decrease the risks of cramping. You don’t have to be an athlete to experience muscle cramps. For those that drink insufficient amounts of water and are minimally active dehydration, and therefore involuntary contraction of muscles due to hypersensitivity can be a result. 
  2. Constipation- A lack of hydration can cause the intestinal cells to extract water in the intestines making the waste become hard, resulting in constipation. 
  3. Hypertension- For those that are chronically dehydrated, high blood pressure is common. With the body’s lack of water, in the cells, the brain sends a signal to the pituitary gland to secrete vasopressin, which helps the constriction of blood vessels. The result causes blood pressure to increase, leading to hypertension. 
  4. Kidney Stones- When urine becomes concentrated, the minerals from the urine accumulate in a crystal formation. This then gets deposited into the kidneys as kidney stones. 
  5. Uremia- The kidneys help filter waste while diluting urine, but to do that they need a sufficient amount of water in the body. With no enough water in the body to allow proper function of the kidneys, waste that should have been excreted gets trapped, circulating throughout the body. 
  6. Gallstones- Dehydration can cause contraction of bile ducts in the liver, resulting in gallstones. 
  7. Kidney Disease- With low amounts of water in the body, the kidneys have to reduce urine formation that causes the capillaries to constrict in areas like the heart and brain, resulting in high blood pressure. The combination of high blood pressure and urine retention causes serious kidney damage, eventually leading to kidney disease. 
  8. Joint Complications- With dehydration, the cartilage in joints ends up rubbing together causing wear and tear over time, weakening the joints. By simply adjusting water intake and the resulting formation of new cells, the cartilage can be repaired. A consistent lack of water only increases the delay of repair to the damaged joints, which can end up completely wearing out the cartilage over time. 
  9. Depression- Requiring 85% water, water deficiency in the brain can result in impaired brain functions and energy supply, leading to fatigue, lethargy, and depression. 
  10.  Death- Our bodies hold up 55-60%, varying depending on age, sex, activity level, and health. Every function of the body requires water to properly do its job to keep our body running healthy and smooth. A result of severe hydration is death, so make sure to be aware of the warning symptoms and get an adequate amount of water intake each day! 

How The Body Stores Water In Tissues

Fatty tissue contains less water than lean tissue--this means that your weight and body composition can affect the percentage of water in your body. The water helps keep the tissues in your body moist, retaining optimum levels of moisture in sensitive areas like your eyes, nose, and mouth, and others, including the blood, bones, and brain. 

Tracking Water Intake

Maintaining hydration is important, as you’ve seen above. To do that we need to make sure our water intake is up to par. 

Here are some tips-

  1. Use a water bottle or favorite Hydroflask or Yeti bottle for easy access and to track your intake.
  2. Drink water with every meal, this will help reinforce the behavior to consume water whenever you eat.
  3. Vegetables and fruits have high water content. By consuming these nutrient-dense foods, you are easily increasing your water intake each day! Fun fact-for every one gram of carbohydrate stored in the body as glycogen there is approximately 2-3 grams of water retained! 
  4. Avoid over-consumption of sugary drinks like soda and juice, as well as caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. These liquids can actually dehydrate you, while others are diuretics. Try to stick to water as your primary beverage. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should my body water percentage be?

55-60% depending on activity level, health, sex, and environment. 

Is your body 70 percent water?

No, babies have a higher percentage of 75% until they reach their first birthday, dropping down to 65%.

What percentage of body fat is water?

Lean tissue holds more water than fatty tissue. Fat contains about 10% of water. 

How can I test my body water level?

The most common test is through your urine. On average, a healthy body should be emptying your bladder about 5-8 times a day. The urine should be light yellow. Another method is dilution, recognized as a gold standard for measuring total body water (tbw). This test can be done at a hospital under the guidance of a trained professional. 

Is a high body water percentage good?

The Watson Formula is a great tool to calculate total body water in liters. You’re usually in a healthy range if your body water percentage is 50% and above with a good amount of body water content, especially through lean tissue compared to fatty tissue. 

How To Increase Body Water Percentage

1. Avoid sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks.

2. Drink 1 Ounce of water for every pound of body weight.

3. Increase consumption of leafy green vegetables which helps your muscles stay hydrated.  

Does water retention affect body fat percentage?

Women experience more changes in hydration than adult men due to menstrual cycles. Retaining water can cause weight to fluctuate during this period causing additional variation in body fat percentage. 

Why does body water increase with weight loss?

Lean tissue holds more water than fatty tissue which results in a drop in body weight. Those who struggle with obesity are more likely to be inadequately hydrated without that proper water balance.

kaelyn buzzo  Kaelyn is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach (ISSA) with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing (English) and a Minor in Nutrition from the University of South Florida. Read More.