• Brian Tully, MS, EP-C

The Importance of Water


(As printed in Leland Magazine)

As we begin to move into the warmer months, staying properly hydrated becomes even more important. There are numerous benefits to staying properly hydrated, some may be obvious and some not so obvious. While this list is not all inclusive, one thing is certain; the benefits of staying properly hydrated outweigh the harmful effects of dehydration by far. After all the human body is composed of over 60-70% of water; the slightest drop in this level can impact all bodily function!

Benefits:

  • Helps reduce the risks of heart disease.

  • Helps to maintain healthy body weight by increasing metabolism and regulating appetite.

  • Improves workout performance and recovery.

  • Decreases the risk of certain types of cancers, including colon, bladder, and breast cancer.

  • Helps flush out toxins and waste from your body.

  • Help you feel energized throughout the day, including improved mental clarity, memory and attention.

  • Helps deliver nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to your body, helping your body function healthily and properly.

  • Helps relieve joint pain; if you are properly hydrated; your joints will thank you!

  • Naturally moisturizes the skin, giving it a healthy glow.

Recommendation:

Clearly water is important, but how much do you need?

As it turns out “8 x 8” is out. Drinking at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water has been a common recommendation given by health and fitness professionals over the years, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Some experts suggest that you can take your weight in pounds and divide that in half to get a good estimate of how many ounces of water you need each day. This is a good baseline estimate method. It’s easy to figure out and easy to remember. However this is truly a baseline and you will need to adjust this based on physical activity levels, diet factors, and general climate factors.

To get a little more specific with the numbers, the Dietary Reference Intake as published by the Institute of Medicine is 13 cups of fluid (101.4 ounces) for sedentary men and 9 cups of fluid (74.4 ounces) for sedentary women each day. This amount is for actual fluid intake and does not include water provided in foods.

Which ever method you are using, remember that this is a baseline amount and more water is recommended for individuals who are physically active or exposed to a hot environment. It is also recommended to include an additional 8 ounces of water for every caffeinated/alcoholic beverage consumed. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which cause you to lose water faster.

You’ll know you are at a good hydration level based on the color of your urine. Think of the color of lemonade (pale yellow) as a goal indicator.

Tips to Reach Your Daily Water Goal:

Splurge on the perfect reusable water bottle

  • One with a unique design, favorite color, or inspirational message on it

  • Carry it with you at all times

  • Refill it as soon as it's empty

Track Your Progress

  • Use an app on your smartphone or a simple sticky note

  • Update tracker every time you finish your current bottle/glass

Make it a Ritual

  • Have 8-10 oz of water at specific transitional points in the day:

  • When you first get up

  • Just before leaving the house

  • When you sit down to read or watch TV

  • When you get home

Make it Part of Every Meal

  • Every time you eat a meal or snack have at least 8-12 ounces of water with it

Drink When You Are Hungry

  • Hunger can be mistaken for thirst; If it hasn’t been long since your last meal and you are feeling hungry try drinking a glass of water

  • When you have a junk-food craving, drink a glass of water instead

It’s FREE

  • When dining out skip the calorie, sugary beverages and opt for water

Buddy System

  • Challenge a family member, co-worker or friend to a fun competition to see who can hit their goal amount of water more days in a row

Freshen it up with Some Fruit

  • Add fresh lemon, lime, oranges or cucumber to flavor your water

Create a System

  • Have one glass (6-10 oz) every hour on the hour while at work.

Make a Rule

  • Find something you have a habit of doing regularly, and make a rule to drink 8-10 oz of water every time you do it.

These are just a few helpful tips. You don’t need to implement all of them to reach your goal. Pick what works for you. Try one or two. Keep the ones that work for you, get rid of the ones that don’t. Remember it is important to use these tips to spread out your overall needed intake throughout the day, rather than chugging massive amounts at one time to meet your goal number.

Take baby steps as you work toward increasing your intake to reach your goal amount. If you are currently nowhere near your number, add an additional 8-12 oz to your daily intake each week until can sustain your needed amount. Your trips to the bathroom may increase at first, but your body will adapt, don’t make that the reason you don’t move forward.

Water has been ranked by experts as second only to oxygen as essential for life. We already know we can’t live without oxygen, and now hopefully you realize the importance of water. So DON’T stay THIRSTY my friend…drink plenty of water and reap the many benefits that will improve your life on numerous levels.


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