Our bodies are estimated to be about 60 to 70 percent water. For our body to work efficiently and effectively we must drink water; every system of our body depends on it. Drinking water daily encourages ideal functioning of our cells, organs and musculoskeletal system. Other benefits to drinking water include increased energy, decreased bloating and puffiness, a better complexion, improved blood circulation, enhanced detoxification system, joint lubrication and muscle contraction.
Urinating, defecating, breathing and perspiring all cause the body to lose water. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), approximately a liter (about 4 cups) of water is lost per day with these functions alone. Therefore, not enough water causes dehydration, fatigue, cramping, headaches, constipation and joint and muscle pain; not the ideal conditions you want your body to feel. Feeling thirsty, dry mouth or a dark color or strong odor in your urine are clear indications your body needs more water.
Water can be found in mostly all the foods and drinks we consume. Fruits and vegetables are mainly composed of water. Therefore, having an adequate amount of these in your daily nutritional program also contribute to your daily water intake requirements. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake.
Drinking only caffeinated drinks such as soft drinks, coffee and tea (all contain water) trick the body into thinking t is hydrated, which in fact these all act as mild diuretics. Limit the amount of caffeine you consume in order to get proper nourishment for the body.
How much water do I need?
The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3.7 liters and women 2.7 liters of water a day. Modifications to your total water intake is based on your activity level, the environmental conditions, your health status and if you are pregnant or breast feeding. For example, the more active you are, the more water you need. The hotter or humid the weather is, the more water you need.
A general calculation for how much water you need is to drink 8 oz of water per day. However, if you are looking to be more specific based on your physical status, take your body weight in pounds and divide that in half. This will give you the number of ounces of water you should drink per day based on your size. For example, if you are 150lbs, you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water per day. This equals to roughly 9 (8 oz) glasses.
- Add lemon, lime, berries, strawberries and mint to your water to give it flavor
- Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social gatherings.
- Increase your fruit intake (be cautious to not always choose fruits that are high on the glycemic index).
- Increase your vegetable intake
- Always keep water readily accessible. Carry a bottle of water while on the road or exercising or have a glass of water on you desk.
- Space out the water you consume throughout the day. Avoid drinking the water all at once. Like I tend to do when working out at GoodLife Fitness.
- Drink water before and after a meal.
- Drink water on a one-to-one basis. Meaning, if you drink a cup of coffee, drink a glass of water. If you drink an alcoholic drink, drink a glass of water.
- Set a reminder on your watch, computer or hand-held device to drink a glass of water every hour or so.
- Keep a log