How important is water?

With the weather warming up around here and the increase in work we’ve been doing outside in that warmer weather, I’m reminded of how important drinking enough water is. We’re sweating more, my lips are getting chapped, and I know I’m having to consciously remind myself to drink water and carry it with me. I recall one of my nutrition classes where we went through a chart that explained what happened physiologically at each stage of water loss to our bodies. So how about a refresher on just what happens to us when we get dehydrated and how we can help it? 

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Our bodies are up to 75% water so it’s understandable why when we lose just 1% of our body weight, our temperature raises. Then if we get to 5% loss of body weight in water, our aerobic ability and muscular endurance is decreasing drastically and strength and power is decreased by up to 30%. 

Unless your activity is very high intensity, in a hot and humid setting or exceeds an hour, drinking water after said workout is usually enough. In those other instances though, we need to be diligent in replacing fluids throughout the workout. Some people may lose as much as 8 cups of fluid per hour. 

While drastic water loss that we experience usually in exercise or working in extreme heat, we can’t forget the smaller things that are happen with dehydration:

  • Loss of water slows the body down, making us feel tired
  • Blood pressure goes up as blood becomes more concentrated
  • The kidneys and bladder accumulate toxins and waste when dehydrated
  • Constipation happens as water is drawn from the colon to use elsewhere, slowing down the digestive process
  • Cartilage in joints are mostly water and will cause pain and slow healing when left with less water
  • When cells are tired (see above) and therefore rely on more eating for energy and in turn can cause weight gain
  • Aging happens if the body dries out too much or often.

so how much do we need to drink?

Men are recommended to drink 13 cups per day or 3 liters. Women are recommended 9 cups or 2.2 liters. But these are only guidelines, each person and each day are different but aim for these numbers. I recommend carrying a reusable water bottle. My camel-bak bottle is my favorite and has a lifetime guarantee. Having a bottle full of water with you all day long leaves little reason not to stay hydrated. Water should be just as important as your wallet when you go anywhere. 

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How about you guys? Do you have a “tell” for everyday dehydration? Mine’s the chapped lips, being tired or a headache. Drinking some water usually fixes me right up. Any tips for staying hydrated?

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