Most of us are told to drink about 8, 8oz cups of water a day, but did you know that our bodies are made up of about 55-60% water? That equates to 10-13 gallons of water in an average adult! While it's common knowledge that you should stay hydrated, a lot of folks don't fully understand why. What does water do for our body that's so darn important besides quench our thirst? Well, here's a few reasons for starters:
ROLES OF WATER IN THE BODY
REASONS TO STAY HYDRATED:
1. Improves energy and relieves fatigue
Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!
2. Promotes Weight Loss
Removes by-products of fat, reduces eating intake (by filling up your tummy if consumed prior to meals), reduces hunger, and can raise your metabolism.
3. Flushes Out Toxins
Gets rid of waste through sweat and urination which reduces the risk of kidney stones and UTI’s (urinary tract infections).
4. Improves Skin Complexion
Moisturizes your skin, keeps it fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. Gets rid of wrinkles. It’s the best anti-aging treatment around!
5. Maintains Regularity
Aids in digestion as water is essential to digest your food and prevents constipation.
6. Boosts Immune System
Someone who drinks plenty of water is less likely to get sick. And who wouldn’t rather feel healthy the majority of the time? Drinking water can help fight against flu, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks.
7. Natural Headache Remedy
Helps relieve and prevent headaches which are commonly caused by dehydration.
8. Prevents Cramps & Sprains
Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.
Drinking water regularly is important but true hydration also depends on electrolytes for proper absorption. Electrolytes are minerals that become capable of conducting electricity when dissolved in water. There are 4 general functions of electrolytes:
- Control the osmosis of water between fluid compartments
- Help to maintain the pH balance
- Carry electrical current
- Serve as cofactors needed for optimal activity of enzymes
Here's a brief breakdown of the different types of electrolytes and their unique importance to the human body:
Sodium (Na) – maintains fluid balance
Sodium is the most important electrolyte to monitor during training. Excessive losses of sodium (via sweat) can lead to muscle cramps, and can lead to a decrease in performance, and cause major health complications. Sodium is critical for maintaining fluid balance, nerve function, muscle contractions, and acid-base balance. Sodium losses in sweat are greater than any other electrolyte. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain an adequate balance, both during your activity and after.
Potassium (K) – prevents cramping
Potassium in conjunction with sodium helps alleviate and prevent muscle cramps. Potassium is abundant in many food sources, and the average individual has high stores within the body. In sweat, potassium losses are not as high as sodium. Therefore, making it highly unlikely that losses in potassium (alone) can cause a decrease in performance. With that said, it is still crucial to maintain potassium levels while training as it will be critical for a healthy water & electrolyte balance.
Calcium (Ca) – regulates muscle contractions & heart rhythm
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and it serves many roles both in normal bodily functions, and athletic performance. When calcium is circulating within the bloodstream it has a major impact on metabolism of essential nutrients, and proper physiological functions.
- essential for bone and muscle health
- involved in all types of muscle (heart, skeletal, and smooth) functions and contractions
- it is involved in the synthesis and breakdown of muscle and liver glycogen (fuel stores)
Magnesium (Mg) – relaxes muscles
Similar to how sodium and potassium function together, magnesium and calcium do the same. While calcium is essential for muscle contractions; magnesium aids in helping muscles relax . Therefore, the combination of magnesium and calcium is critical for healthy muscle function. Magnesium also aids in glucose metabolism, and it used in many enzymatic reactions.
Needless to say, MAKE SURE TO GET ADEQUATE ELECTROLYTES. You can find electrolytes in various forms like in powder or tablet forms that can simply be added to your water.
On the contrary, we should avoid consuming too many diuretic beverages. While they are used to treat certain medical conditions, diuretics help rid your body of salt and water which in turn can dehydrate you. Some of the most common types of diuretic beverages are:
- Caffeinated Teas as well as some herbal teas such as peppermint
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Packaged Fruit Juices
SO, HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DRINK?
|The equation below is an easy one to follow on a daily basis:|
Body Weight (lbs)/2 =
the minimum number of ounces you should drink each day
Example: A person weighing 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water each day
Other considerations to make with this equation:
- Average consumption is adjusted with ingestion of diuretic beverages. If you drink an 8-ounce diuretic beverage, add 12 - 16 ounces of water to your daily intake
- Maximum amount – 1 Gallon - too much water can cause dehydration
- SIP throughout the day. Don’t chug!
If I haven't convinced you enough already to stay hydrated, well, not sure what else to say from here. That said, if this article made you thirsty, you can continue staying hydrated by these easy tips below:
- Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day
- Set an alarm on your phone for every so often to remind you to continue to sip your water throughout the day
- Choose water over sugary drinks
- Opt for water when eating out. You’ll save money and decrease your calories
- Serve water during meals
- Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your This can help improve the taste and you may find yourself drinking more water than you usually would.
Now that you can see it is truly one of the most important parts of a healthy journey, drink up! Happy New Year and happy sipping!
About the Author, Krystal Goodman, FNTP CPT
Krystal Goodman’s passion for fitness and nutrition can only be matched by her clients’ performance in the gym and her first-class meal-prep in the kitchen. For over ten years, Krystal has been a personal trainer, building an impressive cliental and more importantly, a reputation for her clients’ results. She has shown her expertise as a coach while instructing fitness classes at Orange Theory Fitness when she isn't training one on one. Her national certification through NCSF as a CPT along with another in the world-renowned TRX training system, and AAHFF for nutrition make Krystal a versatile fitness professional.
Moreover, Krystal launched K’s Klean Nourish in the Fall of 2019, creating the perfect clean-eating meal planning and nutrition counseling solution for life’s demanding schedules. Nationally certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Krystal’s knowledge of nutrition extends far beyond her incredible penchant for cooking.