It’s the heat of the summer, and there’s no time more important than now to stay adequately hydrated. However, your hydration game should truly be on point year-round, not just when temps are scorching. You’ve no doubt heard this advice since you can remember, and facts such as, our bodies are made of 75% water, and that you should be drinking 8 cups a day every day. The truth about hydration and how much we need though, is a little more nuanced, and current research is telling us to abandon the old adage of 8 cups a day for a more personalized recommendation.
Before we launch into the measurements though, it’s worth re-hashing just how important water truly is. There’s no way around it: drinking plenty is truly the cheapest, easiest, and most often-neglected way to take care of yourself and the health of your entire body.
In a world full of health advice, new dietary recommendations at every turn, and a seemingly never-ending stream of eat/do this, not that advice, it can become easy to overlook the basics. And drinking plenty of water is truly the cornerstone of a healthy body. Since water makes up so much of us via our organs, blood stream, muscle mass tissue, etc, our bodies truly are comprised of somewhere in the vicinity of 55-75% water, depending on factors like age, gender, and health. For example, while an infant’s body is around 75% water, an adult male might be closer to 60%, with the average adult female’s body somewhere in the range of 55%. Factors like body composition play a roll too, since fatty tissue contains less than lean tissue.
Regardless, all of our bodies depend entirely on ample water to perform every basic task relating to metabolism, digestion, nutrient-delivery to cells, flushing out toxins and waste, joint insultation, and even down to a cellular level, literally making up the building block of cells.
Though we cannot function without it, the vast majority of us aren’t getting enough. Studies have shown 75% of Americans suffer, without even realizing it for the most part, from chronic dehydration—meaning we’re walking around during most of our day to day lives, short on the most vital component in our bodies. By the time we feel the actual feelings of thirst, we’ve already lost about 2-3% of our water in our bodies, meaning we’re already dehydrated. More of than not though, we may not even recognize what’s happening. Have you ever felt headachey, groggy, low-energy, or experienced more serious symptoms like joint paint, weight gain, high blood pressure, or headhaches? No doubt you have, but you probably didn’t connect any or all of these to being dehydrated, though it can be the root cause for all these.
Next time you feel the mid afternoon low-energy slump hit, instead of reaching for a soda of coffee, which will actually both just dehydrate your further, drink a tall glass of water and see how your body almost immediately perks up. The simplest, cheapest, and most readily available solution is often exactly what our bodies are screaming out for.
So if not 8 cups a day, how much should you be striving to drink? Most experts now recommend that the ideal amount is your body weight divided by two, in ounces. For example, a 140 lb person should be drinking 70 ounces of water each day, which is around 8.75 cups. You easily do the math to find your own number to shoot for, and if you’re currently under-hydrating, just aim to work your way up by a cup a day. If soda or coffee is your go to, you’ll immediately start feeling the benefits by adding more water into your day. And if the idea of plain H20 doesn’t excite you, steer clear of artificial flavors or additives, and instead try spiking your drink with fresh fruit, frozen melon, mint, or cucumber slices.
FITtec. – Fitness For Life