Staying Hydrated: More Than Just Quenching Thirst
“Make sure you drink water.” “Did you hydrate enough today?” These are just a couple of examples of some of the common things we hear everyday about drinking water. Although we hear it constantly, understanding the important benefits of drinking water can be valuable.
Our body is mostly made up of water. In fact, 60% of our body’s composition is water. We rely on it for digestion, nutrient transportation, and body temperature regulation. Without proper fluid balance in our body, our organs and body systems cannot function properly, thus causing damage that may not be apparent to most individuals. Failing to keep your body properly hydrated can lead to a number of problems, including:
- Brain tissue shrinkage—disrupts cellular function
- Increased appetite—our bodies crave more food if not properly hydrated
- Decreased metabolism—inability of our body to burn caloric intake
- Poor skin appearance—lack of H2O can make our skin look dry and wrinkled
- Dehydration—occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in
In the summer, many of us find ourselves participating in outdoor activities. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your body gets enough water as temperatures continue to rise:
1. Have a glass of water when you wake up and before you go to sleep
2. Drink a glass of water with every meal
3. Substitute a glass of water for pop, coffee, or alcohol (these beverages are diuretics, which increase urine production)
4. Stay hydrated during physical activity—fluid loss increases as we sweat
5. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times
The old adage of 8 glasses of 8 oz of water has been researched with no conclusive evidence to those numbers. In fact, recent research suggests that we should gauge our intake of water based on thirst and not an exact number. However, surveys have recommended that men consume 125oz/day and women should consume 91oz/day.
Roughly 80% of our daily water intake comes from liquids while the other 20% comes from food. So it is important to eat some high water content food as well. Here are few examples:
Whether you’re sitting down to enjoy a nice meal during your weekend BBQ, going for a leisurely stroll to soak in that Vitamin D or enjoying a nice run along the lake shore this summer, remember that your body will thank you for drinking water.