When losing weight or exercising a fitness regimen, one of the most important questions that needs to be answered is “How much water do I need in a day?” We shall attempt to shed some light on this subject in this article.
Waters purpose in the body
The human body is composed of 60% water. It is probably the single most important element utilized by the body. It serves as a hydrator or an atmosphere in which all the processes of the body does its’ work. It serves as a cooling system through evaporation. It carries heat from the inner parts of the body to the sweat glands and the evaporates into the atmosphere carrying heat away from the body. Without this cooling system our body would overheat and we would pass out or die. Think what it would be like to run your car with no water in the radiator.(VW Beetles excluded).
Not only does the water act as a coolant, it also serves as a lubricant. There are a lot of working parts in a body and many of them interact with one another. The lubricant that services these connections are based in water. When we become dehydrated our joints are at somewhat of a risk of experiencing damage. Therefore, it is good to maintain a good level of hydration when doing a lot of physical activity.
Water is the bases for the main transporter of materials through the body. The main avenues of transport are our blood vessels and arteries. The fluid in which our blood cells are transported is water base. Have you ever noticed that a river which is almost dried up flows more slowly than a river that is full to the banks? When your body becomes dehydrated the flow of necessary nutrients to the body parts becomes slowed down. Because of this lack of water and sluggishness the whole system begins to slow down and will soon stop altogether.
Since water makes up so much of the body it is necessary to keep a healthy level at all times.
How to maintain good hydration
Most of us have heard that we should take in eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day. That is a good rule of thumb. But it may vary from person to person and from activity to activity. If you are lounging around the house in the air condition you may get by with less water. But if you are a Carpenter working out in the sun on a summer day you may need twice that amount.
It does not necessarily need to be water that you drink. Tea, coffee and soft drinks are basically water with a little flavor. Milk is mostly water, too. So just about any fruit drink, other than wine, will suffice for hydration. (A note on alcohol: Do not drink alcoholic beverages to try to hydrate. They will do more to dehydrate than hydrate.)
In cases of sickness which may cause extreme dehydration one should take in plenty of liquids. Water should be the liquid of choice. Cool, but not cold, water should be the best because it is most quickly absorbed by the body and brings the quickest relief of dehydration.
The best approach is to drink before you begin a project or workout. Then drink more about midway through. And the drink upon completion of the project. It is almost impossible to become over hydrated, so feel free to drink plenty.
There is a condition called hyponatremia in which someone may take in too much water and the kidneys cannot excrete the excess water and the sodium level in the blood becomes diluted. This situation can become life threatening. It is a rare situation and is only found in cases of extreme exertion and massive amounts of water intake.
Because our bodies are composed of so much water it is good that we should always be aware of how much water we intake. As mentioned above it is almost impossible to take in too much water. Even though we have so many ways to get the water we need, cold drinks, coffee, tee, fruit drinks, other drinks and even the food we eat, we should always be aware of how our body is functioning.
Two of the most important functions carried on by our body is sweating, which we mentioned above, and urination. Through the use of water the kidney filters out toxins and other impurities and waste from our body and excretes them through urination and sweating. Without adequate water these two most important functions will not rid our bodies of the waste and toxins which may cause diseases and conditions which can become debilitating.
I shall emphasize that the fluid of choice should be water. Water contains no calories and thus will not add more caloric intake than one should take in. It is usually the least expensive and even saves the body a step or two in preparing it to go to work in your body.
So when you are asking, “How much water do I need in a day?”, the old adage of “eight 8 oz. glasses a day” should suffice for the average person. Use wisdom as to the activity that you are doing to decide to take more or less.
Drink up! It’s good for you!
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