Did you know that the human body is roughly 60% water by weight?
That’s right, more than half of you, is water.
Although water is essential to our functioning, we cannot create it ourselves, therefore, we must replenish it.
We lose water in many ways. These include through:
It appears we are constantly losing water, yet it is essential for the functioning of our brain, spinal system, digestive system, and lymphatic system. Without water, the human body would shut down completely within 72 hours.
How much water should I drink per day?
The exact amount is dependent on your individual body needs. For men, it is typically recommended to drink about 3 litres of water per day, an for women, a little over 2 litres.
A much more simple recommendation would be to listen to your body’s needs and actually drink water when you feel thirsty and to try drinking water at every single meal.
Unfortunately, research shows that as we get older, our body may not necessarily send thirst cues as we need it, which is where tracking your water intake may be beneficial to you.
What about when I exercise?
You must replenish the water that you lose in exercise in order to combat electrolyte and fluid imbalances which lead to dehydration.
A good rule of thumb is to have an additional 250 ml of water per every 15 minutes of exercise (and make sure you are consuming this water throughout your workout). If you wanted precision, you could weigh yourself immediately before and after exercise. This allows you to see exactly how much water is lost by translating your weight in pounds to ounces. One pound lost, translates to 16 ounces of water lost.
I find water boring. Is there anything else I can drink?
Other drinks and foods can have an effect on your hydration besides plain water.
Some other options you have include:
- Coffee and tea. Contrary to popular belief, these have only mild diuretic like effects, and can actually add to your fluid balance.
- Sports drinks are also a great option. Be careful to not over consume these and treat them as a replacement for water as they do have high sodium contents.
- Watermelon. One cup of this amazing fruit contains half cup of water!
- Too many fruits and vegetables for me to even be able to list! Look it up for yourself and see!
- Most chicken and fish is also loaded with water.
At the end of the day…
At our base line, we need water to function. Increasing your fluid levels is one of the best and most important decisions you can make for your mind and body. It is also helpful that it is one of the easiest and least-intimidating steps you can take towards healthy lifestyle change.
If you’re curious, try increasing your water and fluid intake little by little this week, and see if you feel any different.
Healthline. 2020. How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day#Do-Other-Fluids-Count-Toward-Your-Total?> [Accessed 23 July 2020].
Laskey, J. and Sinha, S., 2020. Functions Of Water: Health Benefits | Everyday Health. [online] EverydayHealth.com. Available at: <https://www.everydayhealth.com/water-health/water-body-health.aspx> [Accessed 23 July 2020].
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2007. Exercise and Fluid Replacement. 39(2), pp.377-390.