How much water is enough?
The answer may surprise you. I took a random survey to see how much water people were actually drinking throughout the day. The answers ranged anywhere from two glasses of water to 128oz (1 gallon). However, the most interesting comments were from those who did not answer with an amount. Rather than listing an amount they simply said “not enough” or “I need more”. Being honest with yourself about your water consumption is important. Let’s look at first how much water you should be drinking.
There are many tricks to figuring out how much water is good for your body. One that was stated in the survey was dividing your body weight in half and then drinking that amount in ounces was what worked for them. Then we have the old rule of thumb was 8 glasses of water per day, or drink so that you are rarely thirsty and your urine is a pale yellow. According to The Mayo Clinic, men should be drinking a minimum of 13 cups (3 liters)and women should drink 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water per day. Take a look at your average day, do you drink that amount? Less? More?
The amounts listed are minimum requirements. Requirements? For what? Keeping a properly hydrated body is essential. The human body is composed of about 60% water. Water is needed to perform daily bodily functions such as circulation, digestion and absorption, maintenance of your body temperature, creation of saliva, tears and other needed fluids. Water also helps our skin, a vital organ, too look full and younger. As your water intake decreases your skin becomes dry and wrinkles.
Dehydration is an undesirable effect of improper water replacement. It has many physical and mental side effects. Dehydration can lead to headaches, dry lips, cracked skin, slower healing process, constipation, rapid heart beat, and in some severe cases delirium. It can even alter brain and physical functions. This change in your brain functions, leaving your mood altered and your reactions delayed. Dehydration also causes a lack in physical function. You will find that you cannot perform as well not only in your work out but also in every day tasks. With your body not functioning properly your metabolism will slow down as well as your ability to lose weight. In extreme conditions it can cause depression, shock and comas.
If the amounts listed by The Mayo Clinic are required minimums, when should we be increasing our water intake? Think about times when you find yourself looking for water. Hot environments, perhaps summer, when you’re working out, when you’re sick. All of these factors and even some diseases or ailments have us parched. Please make sure to increase the amount you drink based upon the increased intensity or duration of your workout, how long you will be exposed to the heat or sun, replenishing what you have lost while ill and, of course, see your doctor to maintain proper hydration for any condition you may have.
Here are a few tricks and reminders to help you keep you hydration levels high and stay healthy.
1). Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
2). Have a glass before, during and after you exercise.
3). Eat fruits and vegetables with high fluid content as 20% of our hydration can come from food.
4). Keep a bottle of water on you at all times, in the car, in your bag, even at your desk.
5). Drink a glass of water before you go to bed and when you wake up.
Try a new one of these suggestions every week and see how you feel better as your hydration habits get better.