Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Water: How Much of It Do You Need?



If you are like me and spend time reading all sorts of health “suggestions”, you’d know that there are so many different notions on how much water each person should drink per day. If you are alive, you probably know that water is very important. When the body needs water and we don’t feed it, that could lead to various levels of dehydration. And even a little dehydration doesn’t let our bodies function optimally.

First off, do you know all the reasons your body needs water? Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. That’s a lot! Every single cell, organ, and tissue in your body depends on water. Water transports nutrients, flushes toxins, digests food, helps in metabolism, regulates body temperature, provides lubrication, and carries oxygen to all the cells. Water does a lot more, but these are the most important functions.

You lose water by simply breathing. I know you thought it was when you peed or sweated, but even if you didn’t do those, your body would still lose water. This is why it is important to replenish. You’ve heard the rule: 8 glasses of 8 ounces a day (which is 64 ounces of water). While this is not tied to any specific medical research, it is a number that we usually use because it is simple.

So what is the number that is really tied to research? The Institute of Medicine has said that men should drink about 3 liters (about 13 cups) of fluid a day, and women should drink about 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). Note that it is 'fluid', and not just water, so you do have options. 

Food consists of about 20 percent of your daily fluid intake. And then you have other liquids as well that consist mostly of water. Try to get as much water as you can, but note that you can meet some of your requirements from other sources. As you drink liquids, note their caloric values as well though.

Now, if you do work out a lot, live in an extra hot region, or an extra cold region, or have some health conditions, you should probably replenish more than normal. It all depends on how much you sweat or how much moisture you generally lose. So you should probably be able to gauge it based on how tired you feel.

I try to drink before my workout, during my workout, and then after. But this differs for different people because because work out at various levels of intensity. Also, some people don’t work out as well when their bellies are full of water. Know your body.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: ioneblackdoctor.com

1 comment:

  1. The 8 cups of water a day is actually tied to physiology. We lose about 3L of water a day, and 8 cups is about that amount. I can come back with calculations if u woukd like.

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