Hello everyone! Since summer is just around the corner I thought I’d write about why water is important to health. It’s actually important in any season and not just summer. However, many of us spend more time outdoors in summer time so it’s wise to keep yourself hydrated.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
If you’re doing normal activities and aren’t exercising or working outside in the heat, a good rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight in ounces. Another words, if you weigh 180 lbs you should drink 90 ounces of water a day.
However, like I mentioned above that number can vary depending on the amount of physical activity you’re doing. If you’re activity level is higher than normal that day, or if you’re in a warm climate you should drink a little more. Now, the 90 ounces doesn’t have to all come from straight water.
Any food or beverage also counts toward that 90 ounces. Below are some foods that have a fairly high water content and I placed the percent of water next to each food.
- Watermelon – 92%
- Spinach – 92%
- Broccoli – 89%
- Avocado – 81%
- Potatoes – 75%
- Roasted Chicken – 64%
Importance of Getting Enough Water
The makeup of your body is about 60% water, so that number alone lets you know you need to consume a good amount of fluids. It’s also important to stay hydrated because you can only survive about 3-4 days without water.
Benefits of Staying Hydrated
Core Temperature – Consuming proper water levels helps your body regulate its core temperature, regardless of whether it’s cold or hot outside.
Cells – Water transports nutrients to all your cells throughout your body.
Waste Removal – Staying hydrated puts less strain on your kidneys and liver by helping to flush out toxins. Water also dissolves fat and prevents constipation.
PH Level – Adequate water intake helps your body keep its ph level balanced.
Fatigue – Drinking enough water will help your body fend off fatigue during physical activity and exercise.
Cancer – Research has found that greater water intake is related to a lower incidence of bladder cancer. Studies suggest that more frequent urination helps prevent carcinogens (cancer causing agents) from building up in your bladder.
Mood – Being dehydrated can have negative effects on your mood. Therefore, proper hydration can help improve your overall mood.
Headaches – Studies have shown that drinking plenty of water can help prevent headaches, even migraines.
Hangovers – Seltzer water and fruit are better than sugary mixers in cocktails. This helps prevent dehydration which can lead to a hangover. Also drinking a glass of water with each drink during the night can help prevent dehydration as well.
Alertness – Dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue, negatively affects attention span, and can impair motor skills. Because of this, drinking enough water will help you stay alert.
Joints – Cartilage is 85% water and is found in most joints. Water helps keep the cartilage lubricated so the joints can function better.
Heart – Research has shown that drinking plenty of water has been connected to a lower risk of heart disease.
Skin – Having enough water in your system has also been linked to having better skin as it helps prevent dryness.
Immune System – Staying properly hydrated can also improve your immune system so you’ll have a less chance of becoming ill.
Maintaining Water Balance
The water level in your body is constantly changing. Sometimes you’re consuming water and other times your body is eliminating water.
Ways You Lose Water
- Urination and Excretion
- Respirations through lungs
Ways You Gain Water
- Oxidation of protein, carbs, and fat
Monitoring your fluid levels is very important to prevent your body from dehydration. One way to do this is by checking the color of your urine. Basically, the lighter the color the better. If it’s a dark yellow or orange you should drink more water. Another way to check your hydration level is related to exercise.
You weigh yourself before you exercise, and then again after you exercise. You should then replace the amount of water lost back into your body. For example, if you weigh 180 before you worked out and 177 afterwards, you should drink 48 ounces (3lbs) of water to replace the lost fluid.
However, you don’t have to drink 48 ounces all at once. We don’t want you to get sick, it can be spread out over a few hours. The American College of Sports Medicine wrote an awesome article on hydration and fitness that you can see here if you like.
Water For Weight Loss
Water can help you lose weight if that’s one of your goals. It helps reduce overall calorie consumption if it replaces high calorie beverages such as soda. Also, drinking a glass of water before meals helps give you a feeling of satiety or fullness. This way you’ll be inclined to eat less than you normally would.
Hyponatremia is also known as water intoxication. It happens when you consume more fluids than your kidneys and body can excrete. Women and children are more susceptible to this condition because they have lower sweat rates. So the key is balance and to consume adequate amounts of water without overdoing it.
Summary – Drinking enough water to keep your body healthy is crucial to overall fitness. This is especially true in warm climates, but don’t forget you need to stay hydrated in all climates, even cold weather.
If you’re going on a walk, hike, or know you’re going to be expending more energy than usual, put some H2O in your backpack, exercise pouch, or any other way you can take it with you. Have fun this summer but don’t let yourself dry up!
If you have any ways of staying hydrated that work for you that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section. Or, if you have any general comments or questions you’d like to ask, please let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading and have a safe, fun-filled summer!