Why is it Important to Drink Enough Water and Stay Hydrated?
When summer comes, higher temperatures mean that the body has to adapt to keep us cool, which increases the amount of sweat we produce and therefore, we lose more water. That’s why we need to think more about drinking and stay hydrated on a daily basis.
Some Facts about Water in Our Body:
Our body is composed on average of 70% of water.
The percentage of water in children can even reach more than 75%, while older people have only 55% of the water in their system.
90% of our blood is water.
We lose water not only by perspiration but also by our breathing, our urine, and our stools.
So Why Do We Have To Drink So Much Water And Stay Hydrated?
Almost everyone has already heard that it is important to drink enough water and stay hydrated. Maybe it was your family doctor, your personal trainer or your dear mother. They all probably have different reasons, but that does not detract from reality.
Here are Some Key Points That Explain Why Water Is So Important:
The kidneys are a vital organ that filters body fluids and produces urine. A lack of water will put more stress on them and your body will produce less urine (it will also have a darker appearance). This could increase the risk of urinary tract infection, kidney stones and, in the worst case, kidney failure.
If you are not hydrated, your body will have more difficulty sweating and, therefore, in hot weather conditions, your body will be unable to control your core temperature, potentially leading to heat stroke and fainting.
Research shows that dehydration can lead to cognitive changes, such as difficulty in concentrating. In the elderly, it has also shown links to dementia.
Dehydration can reduce your physical performance because your joints can become painful and your muscles will feel weaker and sometimes it is cramping!
Finally, dehydration can change the amount of water in your blood. As it consists of 90% water, a lack of water can create headaches, low blood pressure and can increase your heart rate.
Who is Most subject To Dehydration?
The reasons we have to drink water and stay hydrated also means that certain groups of people are more vulnerable. These include:
Athletes and people who practice high intensity or endurance sports such as running, marathon, and cycling.
People with heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease.
Children and the elderly.
Read More: A Short Practical Guide for Better Hydration
Even though many of us know the reasons above, staying hydrated always seems to be a problem for 40% of the population and a study in the United States shows that 7% of people do not drink water at all per day! We recover water through foods such as vegetables and fruits, juices, tea and coffee, but research shows that pure water remains the best source of consumption.
Fun fact: Originally, tea and coffee were supposed to dehydrate, but recent studies show that this effect is actually minimal and drinking a few cups of tea or coffee a day will not dehydrate you. However, the amount of sugar you put in your cup may be harmful to your health.
How Much Water Do We Require To Stay Hydrated?
There is no clear guideline about how much we need each day. The average is 2.2 liters for women and 3 liters for men.
In addition to that, many people seem to have trouble drinking enough water, but to help you, here are some tips to hydrate you enough.
Read More: Better Sleep At Nights – 9 Tips
The best thing to do is to drink pure water, bottled water or tap. Carrying a durable water bottle with you during the day makes it easy to track how much water you drink.
If you have trouble with water, add lemon juice or fresh fruit to your water.
Listen to your thirst, this is your first indicator that your body needs more fluids (but do not wait to be thirsty to drink).
Sometimes a feeling of thirst can be confused with hunger. So when you sit behind your desk and feel hungry, make sure to drink a large glass of water first.
Look at the color of your urine, the darker it is, the more you will need to hydrate yourself.
Add lots of vegetables and fruits to your daily diet. This will not be enough to ensure your water needs, but can still help.
During your workout, make sure you can drink from your water bottle regularly, not just when you are very thirsty. Weigh yourself before training, and then at the end, if you have lost weight, you have not drunk enough!
Drinking coconut water or sports drinks with electrolytes can help you recover during and after your workout to re-balance the nutrients in your blood.
Make homemade smoothies with water and/or ice. Especially good for those hot summer days!