Water makes up approximately 60% of human body weight, and we cannot survive without it. We can only survive 3-5 days without water before our bodies completely shut down. Without water, our cells and organs will begin to deteriorate causing them to not work efficiently or properly. For example, our body uses water to remove toxins from the body; there are 4 main ways we remove toxins: urination, defecation, perspiration, and processing of toxins by the liver. When our body becomes dehydrated, it will do its best to contain as much water as possible. This causes our body to minimize the use of urination, defecation and perspiration. That leaves us with utilizing the liver to process most of the toxins. This will then place too much work on the kidneys causing the buildup of toxins in the body.
Water acts as a lubricant in our joints and cartilage to allow them to move properly. When dehydrated, the body rations water away from the joints causing the buildup of friction which will eventually lead to joint, knee, and back pain. Water transports nutrients throughout the body by the means of our blood; which is approximately 92% water. The food we consume contains valuable nutrients that are broken down in the digestive system where they are dissolved in water. This water then passes through the capillaries in our intestinal walls where it is then carried to the blood and finally transported to our body’s cells and organs.
Who would have thought that water is so important?
“Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions” says the Mayo Clinic. A good indicator to know whether you are properly hydrated is to look at the color of your urine. If your urine is a brighter yellow, that means it is extremely concentrated and there is very little water per amount of urochrome (a pigment found in urine). If your urine is clear or a light yellow, that means the urochrome pigments are completely diluted with the amount of water you have consumed. Your urine may be a different color based on what kinds of food you eat or what medications you are on. If you have any questions about the color of your urine, please contact your doctor.
So how much water should you be drinking on a daily basis? This will depend on what activities you will be performing throughout the day. The standard is eight, 8-ounce glasses a day. That number will go up if you decide to do any type of physical activity throughout the day. This includes walking around the neighborhood, taking a bike ride with the family, coaching baseball (or just watching outdoor baseball for that matter), strength training…you get the picture. You will also need more water if you are staying up later than usual at night or are waking up earlier in the morning. The more your body is awake and functioning, the more water you will need to consume. Again, use the color of your urine as an indicator to determine your level of hydration.
Now that you know how much water you should be drinking, when should you be drinking it? I tell all of my clients to have a bottle/glass of water within arm’s reach throughout the entire day. That way it is convenient for you and is always right there when you need it. It is also beneficial to drink a glass of water 30 minutes prior to every meal. By doing so, the water hydrates your cells and plumps them up making you fuller quicker. This will help you from over-eating at the meal. Continue to drink water throughout the day until a few hours before bed. That way you don’t have to make any midnight trips to the bathroom.
Ryan Thompson BS, CFT, CSFN 937-409-4812 cell 937-748-9904 office firstname.lastname@example.org