Those of you who know me, have heard me go on about the importance of water consumption many times before, and my two boys (12 & 9) have to listen to it daily. But I am always amazed by the number of people who do not consume anywhere near the amount of water needed a day to function properly. And with the weather so hot at the moment, I thought It was a good time to remind you again.
Drinking a healthy amount of water is vital to your health for so many reasons. You cannot underestimate the health benefits from increasing the amount of water you drink daily. And for many people they can even throw away their migraine medicine or pain killer tablets that they have been taking regularly.
Before you can appreciate the benefits of water to your health, let’s review the role of water in human body.
Functions of Water in The Body
The human body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water depending on body size. A rule of thumb, 2/3 of body is consists of water, and it is the main component of human body. Did you know that your tissues and organs are mainly made up of water? Here is the %:
- Muscle consists of 75% water
- Brain consists of 90% of water
- Bone consists of 22% of water
- Blood consists of 83% water
The functions of water in human body are vital. The water:
- Transports nutrients and oxygen into cells
- Moisturizes the air in lungs
- Helps with metabolism
- Protect our vital organ
- Helps our organs to absorb nutrients better
- Regulates body temperature
- Protect and moisturizes our joints
Every cell in your body needs water from head to toe. That is why it is so important to drink enough fluid. Your brain for example consists of 90% of water and if you do not supply enough water to your body, your brain cannot function properly and you will increase the likelihood of headaches or migraines. Hence, next time, if you feel fatigued and the beginnings of a headache, it may be the first sign of dehydration.
The effects of dehydration can include poor concentration, headaches, feeling tired, impaired sleep, dry skin, joint problems, sore eyes and digestive disorders. Not really ideal for living and working at 100%. How do you know if you are suffering from the effects of dehydration? ·
Do you find you start yawning or getting sleepy during a meeting? ·
Do you get a headache while working? ·
Are you struggling to concentrate? ·
Do you lack energy? ·
Is your work stressful? ·
Do you get sore eyes from staring at a computer all day? ·
Do you work in an air-conditioned environment?
Have a think about how much water you are actually consuming each day. If you think that it might not be enough, simply try increasing your daily intake and see if it makes a difference. Keeping your body well hydrated will actually give you the focus and energy to see you through those tight deadlines, busy schedules and sometimes boring moments. If you normally drink water only when you feel thirsty, this is a sign that you’re not drinking enough. This is because your brain detects when the amount of fluid in the blood falls and instructs us to drink by the sensation of thirst.
Unfortunately this is a slow process (20 minutes) and if you are thirsty you more than likely will be in the early stages of dehydration. Another good indicator of dehydration is if you have dark coloured urine. Ideally your urine will be a light clear colour.
The best way to remain fully hydrated is to drink water regularly during the day, whether you are thirsty or not. All it takes is a little planning! How much water is enough? Aim for at least two litres of water a day on top of all your other sources (coffee etc), and try to spread it out over the whole day. And remember you have to allow for one extra litre of water for one hours exercise.
What about juice, coffee or soft drinks?
People often increase their water intake by simply increasing the amount of juice, coffee and soft drinks that they consume. But this just adds additional sugar and other substances that the body doesn’t really need. It is far better to make water your main source of fluids.
Keep in mind that caffeine and alcohol actually act as a diuretic (increases water excretion), so back it up with some water to balance this out.
A positive toilet break?
An increase in your water intake will result in extra visits to the toilet. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Take the chance for a regular break, a quick stretch or a walk. Before long, your body will get used to the increased water intake and you will require a few less trips.
Tips to increase your water intake
1. Have a big bottle filled with water at your desk. It’s a good way to keep track.
2. Have water bottles in convenient spots where you are working, if you are not desk bound.
3. Have a water bottle in your car to carry with you when you’re out and about.
4. Remind yourself to drink some water after each visit to the toilet to replenish your system.
5. Try herbal teas or adding fresh lemon or lime juice to your water if you struggle with drinking plain water.
6. Drink some water before you have a soft drink, a coffee or a tea. This will increase your water intake and possibly reduce the amount of these drinks you will want or need.
7. Drink some water if you feel hungry. We often mistake hunger for thirst.
8. Drink some water when you wake up in the morning. A great kick start.
9. Drink water when you are consuming alcohol. Try alternating between your alcoholic drink and drinking water.(very important at this time of the year)
If you were only to make one change to your nutrition and exercise habits, I would suggest that this be the ONE.