Drinking water has many benefits including:
- Flushing out waste products
- Maintains muscle tone and the ability for muscles to perform contraction
- Aids the body in metabolic functions such as respiration, digestion, body temperature and tissue nourishment
- Alleviates fluid retention
- More youthful skin by filling out the cells
I don’t know about you, but these sound like some pretty important tasks that our bodies are dependent on water for.
Many health concerns that benefit from drinking water include:
- Athletic cramps
- Digestive concerns
So much can be improved just by committing to your daily intake needs of some high quality H2O!
Water makes up the majority of your total body weight and is your body’s main chemical component as all systems depend on water.
- Infant: 78% water by weight
- Adult: 70% water by weight
- Elderly: no less than 50% water by weight
- Most cells are 90% water
Daily water intake is dependent on the person as well as the circumstances e.g. temperature, activity level, humidity. To determine the water requirement at an average temperature and humidity divide the body weight (lbs) in half, and the number that results is the amount of fluid ounces required per day.
Example: an individual weighing 150lbs requires 75 fluid ounces (2.2 L) or approximately 9, 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
Not receiving enough water can lead to dehydration whereby the body does not have enough water to carry out its normal functions…remember that list of Benefits?
Symptoms of dehydration can include:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Decreased sweating
- Dark coloured urine
- Dry mucous membranes
- Weak pulse
There are many causes of dehydration, but the most common is the lack of replenishing fluids, therefore, make sure to receive your required daily intake of water.
When we exercise water consumptions needs to greatly increase due to the 2 to 3% body water depletion that occurs mainly through sweating.
To prevent cramps, dehydration, lack of coordination or headaches when exercising do the following:
2 cups 15 min before exercise
½-1 cup Every 15 min during exercise
Depending on the length and intensity of your exercise you may need to replenish your electrolytes - basically salts that deplete when you sweat them out. Sports drink contain a lot of sugar so opt to make your own with a base of water and adding things like salt, honey, coconut water and citrus fruits. More on this later.
How to Increase Your H2O:
There are many creative ways to make sure you are consuming your required daily intake of water including:
- Replacing soda, tea and coffee with a glass of water
- Carrying water with you. If you always have water around you will drink it when you are thirsty
- If you don’t like to drink plain water, add lemon or lime, berries, melon, or my personal favourite fresh mint leaves!
- Eat fruits and vegetables high in water such as watermelon and celery
- Keep a glass next to you when you will be sitting for a long time i.e. at work
- Buy a water bottle that is the size of your daily water intake goal this way you can easily see how much water you are consuming throughout the day
- Where a watch that beeps at the beginning of each hour, or set a cellphone timer, that way you have a reminder to drink a glass of water. If you want to be more high tech about it, there are a lot of free aps out there that set your daily goal and give you reminders to drink throughout the day. I personally use Aqualert, it’s simple, pretty to look at, and it gets the job done!
If you are going from drinking no water a day (yes, I’ve seen this before!) to 8 glasses a day this can be a little overwhelming and could result in frustration and failure. If this is such a drastic change for you, try to increase your water by one glass a week until your required amount is reached.
I hope these tips were helpful in getting you started on your journey to health. If you would like to learn more please ‘Like’ me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.
Buchman, D.D. (2002). The complete book of water healing. NY: McGraw-Hill.
Pizzorno (2006). Textbook of natural medicine (3rd ed.). Churchill Livingstone