We all know we need water but why and are we truly getting what we need each day? Water is crucial to your health. It makes up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. We can survive a month without food, but we’ll die after a week without water. Why? Every system in your body depends on water. Your lungs expel between two and four cups of water each day through normal breathing – even more on a cold day. If you are sweating, you can expel about two cups of water – without exercising. Urination can result in 4-6 cups of water loss. With all this loss, our bodies need constant water replenishment.
Dehydration can occur with as little as 1-2 % loss of your body weight and can sap your energy and make you tired. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
Little or no urination
So the big question is always how much is enough? The requirements a body needs can vary widely between individuals but one of the best signs that you are getting enough water for YOU is if you produce a colorless or slightly yellow normal amount of urine – you want to pee clear! Sometimes people gauge their water intake on thirst – this is a very poor indicator of hydration. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.
Many factors can affect your water consumption requirements and they can vary day to day. Obviously, exercise increases your requirements but so does the environment you exercise in – hot day, dry gym, etc. People also know to increase water in summer to counter the affects of hot, humid weather but also consider cold weather – your body needs extra water if you are sweat while wearing insulated clothing to keep warm. Other things that can affect the quantity of water you need to take in are: altitude, illness, vomiting, diarrhea, pregnancy or breast feeding. Basically always have a water bottle with you. Just this small thing has been shown to increase water consumption without effort because it is just there!
If increasing your water intake seems like a chore, add lemon or mint to your bottle to make it taste better. You can also eat more fruits rich in water such as watermelon, and try to drink water more regularly over the course of the day. Please remember that although you can satisfy your body’s overall water needs with beverages such as juices, tea, pop, etc. but nothing compares to simple water.
If you drink water from a bottle, thoroughly clean or replace the bottle often. Every time you drink, bacteria from your mouth contaminate water in the bottle. If you use a bottle repeatedly, make sure that the bottle is designed for reuse. To keep it clean, wash your container in hot, soapy water or run it through a dishwasher before refilling it.