Our bodies are estimated to be about 60 to 70% water.
Blood is mostly water, and our muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Water is needed to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all our organs. Water also transports oxygen to our cells, removes waste, and protects our joints and organs.
When we exercise, we build up heat in working muscles causing our internal temperatures to rise. During hard exercise, your muscles can generate 20 times more heat than when you are at rest. We cool ourselves by sweating. It is this evaporation of sweat from our skin that cools us and helps us maintain a lower core body temperature.
When there is a lot of moisture in the air, evaporation isn’t an effective cooling means and we keep sweating and losing fluids in order to try and stay comfortable. If you did not sweat, you would rapidly and fatally overheat.
A body temperature higher than 106°F damages the cells. At 107.6°F, cell protein coagulates (like egg whites do when they cook), and the cell dies. This is one serious reason why you shouldn’t push yourself beyond your limits in very hot weather.
Heatstroke is literally a killer – as you become dehydrated, your body loses its ability to sweat and cool itself. As a result, we have to drink more water to replenish this fluid lost in the form of sweat.
So why do experts suggest that we drink lots of water and why is it considered so essential to a healthy life? Well first off it helps to avoid dehydration and it keeps the kidneys functioning well by assisting in the elimination of waste products plus it helps to increase your metabolism, which in turn helps you to lose weight.
But aside from listening to what experts tell you, you should make it a priority to listen to your body first and foremost. When you are thirsty, then naturally you will drink water to replenish yourself. Interestingly in fact, you are already mildly dehydrated by the time you start to feel thirsty.
Depending on the kind of work that you do, you should try to get into the habit of drinking water regularly or even better, keeping a water bottle handy, especially on really hot days since the heat causes you to sweat and your body loses water and thus you will need to replenish yourself.
This is why water is so important in our lives. Not only is it zero calories, it is basically the best source for quenching your thirst AND the healthiest. You may consider adding water to all of your meals over time and doing away with fruit drinks and sodas ultimately as it will help reduce your caloric intake and you’ll also feel much better without the added sugar that comes with the other drinks.
Signs of Dehydration
We lose water through urination, respiration (breathing), and by sweating. The water we lose through sweating comes from blood plasma. Plasma is the vehicle for red blood cells, which contain the oxygen that muscles need in order to perform. As you become dehydrated, your total blood volume is reduced, and the oxygen-carrying capability of your blood decreases.
The first, earliest sign of being dehydrated is thirst. You should really look to take on water before you even reach the point of thirst.
The First Drawback to Dehydration is Diminished Performance.
If you continue to exercise without proper fluid intake, you may experience a drop in blood pressure; feel faint, dizzy or nauseous. These are the symptoms of heat exhaustion. If you keep going, your body’s ability to dissipate heat is further impaired and you may suffer heat stroke.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches, and constipation. A strong odor to your urine, along with a dark yellow or even amber color indicates that you are not getting enough water.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces of water per day that you need. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. If you exercise you should drink another 8-ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes you are active. If you drink coffee or alcohol, you should add at least an equal amount of water.
For the average 200lb adult, not taking into account any exercise, you should be aiming to drink 2-3 liters of water per day to maintain your body at optimal levels.
Check out the free water intake calculator on the Flat Belly Bible site at the link below. Although only an indicator, it will give you a good idea of the amount of water you should be drinking daily for optimal health. You’ll probably be surprised at the amount you should be drinking!
Coffee and alcohol are diuretics – they dehydrate you – and remove water from your system. These should not be counted towards total fluid consumption. When you are traveling on an airplane, it is good to have 8 ounces of water for every hour you are on board the plane. If you live in an arid climate, you should add another 2 servings per day. As you can see, your daily need for water can add up to quite a lot.
Drink a glass of water every fifteen minutes during your workout. This may sound like a lot, but it is necessary to keep you hydrated. If you can’t drink that much water at once, take smaller amounts every ten minutes. Seemingly tough at first, once you schedule it into your regular training routine, you will quickly adapt to having fluid in your stomach.
In fact, the fuller your stomach is, the faster it will empty. Gastric emptying is greatly influenced by its volume. Emptying rate decreases exponentially as fluid volume is depleted. Therefore, an effective way to speed up gastric emptying is by maintaining high fluid volumes in the stomach.
When you consume fluids, the rate of gastric emptying is speedy in the first few minutes, and then steadily slows down. To prevent this, you should consume small amounts of fluids frequently throughout your workout. Large amounts of water ingested quickly (such as 600 ml) during exercise, often causes gastric and intestinal distress. Around 400 ml of water can be cleared in 15 minutes for use, so it would be best to have 200-400 ml of water every 15 minutes for ample hydration.
After exercise, drink water to quench your thirst, and then drink even more. If you weigh yourself before and after your workout, drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of weight you lose after exercise.
By keeping your body properly hydrated, you will be well on your way to improving your health and burning body fat. Try increasing your water intake for a week based on the above suggestions, and notice the difference it makes to your energy, mood, mind and body. The improvements are amazing.