You always hear about the need to drink 8 glasses of water a day- but why? Why is drinking water so important and vital to our survival and well being?
Our bodies can survive weeks without food- which is pretty amazing, but only around 5-7 days without water. This is because every system in our body depends on water, it helps with several functions such as flushing out toxins from vital organs, carrying nutrients to the cells, water even provides a moist environment for our ear, nose and throat tissues.
Proper hydration certainly is critical for our overall health, without it, you would become dehydrated, which means your body would not have enough water to function normally.
We are made up of approximately 60% water, so it is no wonder we need to keep hydrated. When the water content in our body is reduced by as little as 1% we become thirsty. When that number increases to 5% our muscle strength and endurance declines significantly, and a 20% reduction can result in death. So ensuring our water content is replenished on a daily basis is very important, especially considering we lose around 2-3 quarts of water everyday through urination, sweating, and even breathing.
Ensuring that you have adequate water levels becomes even more prevalent when engaging in physical activity, as you exercise your body loses large amounts of water through sweating. This could lead to a decrease in athletic performance by causing muscle fatigue, a reduction in coordination and can even cause muscle cramps. Improper hydration can also compromise the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating, which in extreme cases could lead to heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke. So be sure to stop off at the water fountain a little more frequently, as drinking some water isn’t just a good excuse to catch your breath.
Water is not only a great way to keep hydrated and functioning properly during exercise, it can also aid with weight loss. This is because the process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently. A study under gone in 2010 reported by the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society indicated that drinking 16 oz. of water before meals three times a day over a 12-week period increased average weight loss by about 5 lbs.
So if its because you want to maintain optimal athletic performance or shed a couple extra pounds, making sure you keep hydrated is definitely a key component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.