THE IMPORTANCE OF HYDRATION
WHY SHOULD I DRINK WATER?
The AC4Me Kickoff was a great success, with a lot of very good information for all of the participants. We will spotlight one of the items from the kickoff in this message – HYDRATION. Ella talked about the importance of hydration, and we are going to expand on her discussion this week. This is an extremely important topic, so it may be a little longer than our usual messages; please take a few minutes to read in its entirety.
Water plays many important roles within the body. Water is the major part of most of the body’s cells (except for fat cells) and it also cushions and lubricates the brain and the joints. It transports nutrients and carries waste away from the body cells. It also helps regulate body temperature by redistributing heat from active tissues to the skin and cooling the body through perspiration.
Water is the main constituent of the human body. It is normally about 60% of body weight in adult males, and is slightly lower, about 50-55%, in females due to their higher proportion of body fat. The muscles and the brain are about 75% water, the blood and the kidneys are about 81%, the liver is about 71%, the bones are about 22% and adipose tissue is about 20%. Most of the water in the body is found within the cells of the body.
The body requires water to survive and function properly. Humans cannot live without drinking for more than a few days – depending on weather, activity levels and other factors. Although commonly it is treated rather trivially, no other nutrient is more essential or is needed in such large amounts.
Water is lost from the body predominantly via the kidneys as urine and via the skin as sweat. These losses vary widely with the amount of fluid intake, diet, activity level, temperature and clothing. Water balance is achieved when losses are compensated by intake from food and beverages plus metabolic water production. Because of these factors, water requirements will vary between individuals.
Your body loses water as it performs its daily functions, like breathing for example. To enable your body to function correctly, you have to drink a considerable amount of water every day. How much water should you drink? The old water-drinking-rule is 8-8 ounce glasses of water a day. But, is drinking 8 glasses of water enough? The amount of water intake for each of us will vary according to our weight. A more accurate estimation is to drink at least half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water. For example:
You weigh 160 pounds. 160 divided by 2 = 80. You should drink 80 ounces a day.
8 Health Benefits of Drinking Water Daily:
- Drinking water daily helps to lose weight. Very often people confuse thirst and hunger. They eat, but their body needs water instead. If you want to feel full and lose weight, drink water daily. Water helps you feel full and reduces your appetite. Water aids in digestion and helps nutrients absorb into the blood stream. If you starve your body of water, it will retain water.
- Water can relieve pain. Your brain consists largely of water. When your body needs water, your brain is the first one to send you a signal, causing headaches. This applies to back pain also.
- Drinking water daily improves concentration. As mentioned before, your brain is mainly made of water. Good hydration will allow your brain to function more effectively, increase brain energy level and improve concentration.
- Water gives you energy. People who are mildly dehydrated will feel fatigued and weak. In the same way that not drinking enough water makes your brain slow down, it has the same effect on your body.
- Drinking water daily is good for your skin. Water is a natural detoxifier; it removes toxins from your system. These toxins keep your skin from looking firm and vibrant. A number of skin problems can be prevented by taking in adequate amounts of water. No, it won’t take care of all of the wrinkles!
- Water is good for your heart and blood. Water maintains proper viscosity of blood and plasma.
- Drinking water daily strengthens your immune system. Water keeps your pH in balance, and a balanced pH enables your body to take in vitamins and protects you from different illnesses.
- Water is necessary for your kidneys to function properly. The kidneys remove the waste from the body. Without enough water, these waste products build up in the kidneys.
If you find it difficult to drink water, add a little lemon to your water. Adding lemon to your water has benefits on its own, but we will save that explanation for another day.
TIPS FOR DRINKING ENOUGH WATER
Spread your water drinking evenly throughout the day. Keep a large mug on your counter, mine happens to be 32 ounces, and every time you pass your mug, take a drink or two. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. When you are sitting and reading, or working on the computer, have water readily available.
Approximately 30 minutes prior to exercise, drink 1-2 glasses of water. This helps replenish the fluid loss and fuel the muscles during exercise. Drink 1-2 glasses after exercising too.
If water hasn’t been your drink of choice in the past, we encourage you to make a commitment to start drinking water daily. As with your exercise program, start slowly. Make an effort to drink 30 oz. a day for a week, increase it by 8 oz. the next week, and so on until you reach the amount your body needs. You will find you get very thirsty if you neglect your water for a day.
As we age, we “forget” to drink water, so at first it will not be an easy thing for you to do, but the benefits are worth making every effort to drink, drink, drink.
Water benefits health.com