Body water is essential for life. From the time that primeval species ventured from the oceans to live on land, a major key to survival has been prevention of dehydration. The critical adaptations cross an array of species, including man. Without water, humans can survive only for days. Water comprises from 75% body weight in infants to 55% in elderly and is essential for cellular homeostasis and life.
Drinking water does more than just quench your thirst — it’s essential to keeping your body functioning properly and feeling healthy. Nearly all of your body’s major systems depend on water to function and survive. You’d be surprised about what staying hydrated can do for your body.
Here are just a few important ways water works in your body:
- Regulates body temperature
- Moistens tissues in the eyes, nose and mouth
- Protects body organs and tissues
- Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Lubricates joints
- Lessens burden the on kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
- Helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body
- Every day, you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements, which is why
it’s important to continue to take in water throughout the day. For your body to function at its best, you must replenish its water supply with beverages and food that contain water.
You can use modern methods to measure body water, which are also very accurate. These include 3D body scanners that provide body water as well as other information necessary for health, including Body Mass Index (BMI), Body Shape Index (ABSI), Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR), Trunk to Leg Ratio (TLR), Fat-Free Mass (FFM), Total Body Fat also at your disposal. If you provide these health parameters to your doctor, specialist, or trainer, you can get the necessary advice.
When to Hydrate
Whether it is a training day or rest day, always start your morning by drinking an 8- to 12-ounce glass of water. On training days, you would need to hydrate before, during, and after exercise on the following schedule:
- Two hours before exercise, drink 16 to 24 ounces of water.
- 20 to 30 minutes before exercise, drink another eight ounces.
- Just before exercise, weigh yourself to get a baseline weight.
- During exercise, drink eight ounces of water every 15 minutes.
- After exercise, immediately weigh yourself and drink 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of weight you’ve lost.
At the end of your workout, you don’t need to replace all of your fluids at once. Start with 8 ounces and continue to hydrate gradually over the next half hour.
Is water the only option for staying hydrated?
No. You don’t need to rely only on water to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100% water by weight. In addition, beverages such as milk, juice and herbal teas are composed mostly of water. Even caffeinated drinks — such as coffee and soda — can contribute to your daily water intake. But go easy on sugar-sweetened drinks. Regular soda, energy or sports drinks, and other sweet drinks usually contain a lot of added sugar, which may provide more calories than needed.
provide your body water through food
Foods that contain high percentages of water include:
- strawberries and other berries
- oranges and other citrus fruits
- watermelon, cantaloupe, and other melons
- skim milk
Path to improved health
A simple way to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated is to check your urine. If your urine is usually colorless or light yellow, you are most likely well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine can be a sign of dehydration.
Things to consider about your body water
Dehydration happens when you lose more fluid than you drink. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t work properly. Dehydration can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of dehydration can include the following:
- Dizziness or lightheaded feeling.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Muscle cramps.
- Dry mouth.
- Lack of sweating.
- Hard, fast heartbeat.
Symptoms of severe dehydration can include mental confusion, weakness, and loss of consciousness. You should get emergency medical attention immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
What about sports drinks?
For most people, water is all that is needed to stay hydrated. However, if you will be exercising at a high intensity for longer than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful. The calories, potassium, and other nutrients in sports drinks can provide energy and electrolytes to help you perform for a longer period of time.
Choose a sports drink wisely. They are often high in calories from added sugar and may contain high levels of sodium. Also, check the serving size. One bottle may contain several servings. If you drink the entire bottle, you may need to double or triple the amounts given on the nutrition facts label. Some sports drinks contain caffeine. If you consume a sports drink that contains caffeine, be careful not to add too much caffeine to your diet. Caffeine may cause a diuretic effect on your body. This means that you may have to urinate more often.