Our bodies are around 60% water dependant on gender and physical build, keeping it properly hydrated is essential for good health and optimum physical and mental performance. So how much should an individual drink each day?
The answer to that question is not as clear cut as it may seem. The most commonly quoted figures are 2 – 2.5 litres a day, but as you will see there are many deciding factors that effect how much an individual should consume daily.
Climatic conditions, environment, gender, and level of activity will all have an impact.
Why drink water?
Every cell in your body needs water for nourishment and to get rid of waste. When water is in short supply the body tries to limit the amount it loses through bodily functions such as breathing, urination and perspiration. The nasal passages and bronchi have a mucous lining which moistens air as it passes into the lungs, if the body is short of water this lining dries up leaving the way open for bacteria and viruses which can cause coughs and chest infections. Sinuses are similarly affected and this may result in sinusitis.
Not drinking enough water can also cause constipation and irritable bowel syndrome causing severe discomfort, the long term effect of this can be bowel and colon cancer. Drinking water also helps to lubricate the joints keeping us mobile and active. Drinking an adequate amount of water can help to ease skin complaints and help to reduce headaches.
The two most obvious bodily functions that cause water loss are urinating and sweating. Urinating is essential for removal of the bodies toxins, when fluid levels are low the body increasingly uses sweating to rid it’s self of these toxins, this can have detrimental effects on existing skin complaints such as eczema.
Climatic conditions have an obvious effect on how much we drink, in the summer we all drink more but winter temperatures can be deceiving and cold dry conditions can cause dehydration. The environment you live and work in can have huge influence on how much water you should drink, some heating systems particularly if it is a forced air system can cause dehydration.
As a general rule men need to drink more water than women, although pregnant women or women that are breast feeding need to maintain a high level of water consumption. It goes without saying the more active you are the more water you need to drink, for professional sportsmen and women it would be part of their training but even if it’s just a kick around in the park with the kids it is essential to keep fluid levels up.
How do you know you are becoming dehydrated? Well that’s easy isn’t it “when I’m thirsty my body is sending me the message”. By the time you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. The following are all indicators of dehydration.
Urine colour. The darker the urine the greater the level of dehydration.To combat this you need to drink water throughout the day. The recommended intake varies.
A healthy adult male approx 3 litres. A healthy adult female approx 2 litres. A pregnant or breast feeding mother approx 3 litres. Toddlers and pre school approx 1.3 – 1.5 litres. Children school age 1.5 – 2 litres. Children’s consumption is relatively high due to their high growth rate.
What about other liquids?
Drinking water becomes a habit the more you do it the more the body craves it, but if you really can’t face drinking the recommended amounts try mixing a little lemon or lime juice. Pure fruit juice mixed with water is a good way of increasing water intake, the juice could also go as one of your five a day.
The problem with squashes is the additives and sugars that are in them. Both tea and coffee can have their problems caffeine and tannin are present in both and have side effects. To try to balance it out how about alternating a glass of water with tea or coffee.
My name is Simon Thomas. Are you are serious about losing weight? An important part of the course or plan you are using should include advice on the consumption of the adequate amount of water for the level of physical exertion you are involved in. the benefits of drinking water are overlooked by many people on weight loss or excersise plans, through not drinking water you will not be getting the best from yourself or from your plan or from your money.