How much water do you actually consume? And is it enough? Before we get into how much water you should be drinking (spoiler alert… it’s probably way more than you think), let’s look at why our bodies require water.
For one, you’re actually 60% water. That means more than half of your body is comprised of water. Water is crucial to your body functioning properly. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body requires water. Water is vital to transporting nutrients, regulating body temperature, lubricates joints and internal organs provides structure to cells and tissues and helps maintain cardiovascular function. If that wasn’t enough for you to go grab a glass of water, here’s 4 more reasons why it’s important to stay hydrated:
1. It helps removes waste from your body.
Water aids your body in removing wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements. Infrequent bowel movements is a common problem in which increasing fluid intake may help. Research has found that low water consumption is a risk factor for constipation. Chronic constipation may lead to more serious health concerns.
2. It helps maximize physical performance.
The intensity of your workout and climate can impact your hydration requirements. Athletes may lose up to 6-10% of their water weight via sweat. But the effects of dehydration may be noticed when as little as 2% of water weight is lost. Dehydration affects our body’s ability to control temperature, increases fatigue and increases our perceived effort. Hydrating properly has the ability to prevent or reverse these effects and reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress. Replenishing electrolytes lost through sweat is also key. Sodium, specifically helps our bodies maintain a homeostatic water balance. Aggressively drinking fluids without electrolytes may lead to a dangerous condition known as hyponatremia, low blood sodium levels.
3. It can aid weight loss.
Research has found water consumption to induce a thermogenic effect; that is increasing metabolism by 24-30% for an hour and a half. Additionally, those who drank half a litre of water 30 minutes before a meal lost 44% more weight over a period of 12 weeks.
4. It affects energy levels and brain function.
Research has shown that even mild dehydration can affect cognitive function. Just 1.36% dehydration was found to lower mood, lower concentration, reduce memory, increase the perceived difficulty of a task and increase the incidence of headaches. Additionally, dehydration has been shown to lead to fatigue and increased tension & anxiety. Water consumption may also help prevent headaches. In some people, dehydration may be a trigger for headaches or migraines. Research has found that water can reduce the intensity and duration of headaches in those who are dehydrated.
I know you’ve probably heard the ol’ 8 glasses of water a day. But water needs actually vary from person to person and day to day. The 8 glasses of water a day is actually an ideal water consumption for a person who’s about 120 pounds… and I’m guessing not everyone is 120 pounds. The more you weigh, the more water you actually require. So, the question comes down to how much water should you really be drinking?
I recommend, your weight in pounds divided by 2 equals the number of ounces of water your specific body requires to function optimally. Divide that number by 8 and you get the glasses of water you should be drinking in a day.
160 pounds/ 2 = 80 ounces of water
80 ounces/8 = 10 glasses of water
You may require more water with intense exercise, during extreme heat, or are pregnant or breast-feeding.
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