For many of us, water is not a beverage of choice. I hear clients mention frequently that it is hard for them to drink even a little bit of water each day. Even people who truly need to consume large amounts of water (fitness instructors, construction workers, lawn service workers, etc.) struggle to get an adequate amount each day.
Most of us have long forgotten our physical education course in grade school. I’m sure at some point, a teacher in some classroom rattled off the importance of water and the areas of our bodies that require this vital substance. So, just as a reminder, here are some of those important stats concerning water and our amazing bodies.
“Approximately two-thirds of the human body is made of water! Our tissues and organs are also mainly composed of water,” according to the H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry. They state “the brain and heart are composed of 73% water and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79% and even our bones (including intervertebral discs) are 31% water. Our blood is primarily composed of water too at 83%.”.
EVERY system of our body requires water to function!
Our bodies lose water when we exercise as well as in many other ways we may not realize. Breathing, sweating and digestion all cause our bodies to lose water. Conditions such as dry weather, pregnancy, menstruation and being sick also cause water loss.
Drinking water helps our muscles and joints to stay lubricated and prevents our muscles from cramping. But did you know that drinking water can also make your muscles stronger? Being well hydrated enables your muscles to work longer and harder before they feel tired. When you lack the proper amount of hydration, your muscles do not get the electrolytes they need to maintain balance. The result is less muscle control and less strength.
According to the journal of Psychophysiology, “drinking an adequate amount of water can help increase your endurance and tolerance to pain. When in a dehydrated state- that is, drinking under the recommended daily dose of water, perception and sensitivity to pain is radically higher.”.
So how much is enough?
Although there are many different opinions on the proper amount of water needed to stay hydrated the common suggestion is 8 8oz glasses a day. 8×8 – pretty easy to remember. Because each person is different and is affected differently by their day to day activities and other health factors, the right amount for each individual will also vary. A good rule of thumb is to drink when you are thirsty and be aware of factors that may be causing you to lose water (exercise, hot weather, menstruation etc.) and drink to help make up for that loss.
So lets start thinking of water as an important nutrient our bodies need!