We’re Not Fish, But We Might As Well Be!
As many of you know, drinking water regularly is good for the body and general health. It plays an even bigger role than you might imagine and makes up anywhere from 50 to 60% of a your body. Other than oxygen, it is the most important substance our bodies needs to survive. There are reports of people living up to 30 days without food yet we can’t survive more than a few days without water. Your skeletal muscles (the muscles which you have control over) consist of approximately 72% water, so being hydrated is a huge determinant of strength. In a recent study from The National Strength and Conditioning Association it was shown that there was a 19% strength loss with a mere 3% drop in water levels of men. This means that there is a major decrease in maximal strength that occurs from being dehydrated.
Here are some major benefits for drinking water regularly and staying hydrated:
- Improves your body’s natural ability to fight off illness
- Improves function of your endocrine glands (thyroid, pancreas, testis, ovaries, pituitary, adrenal and even parts of your stomach)
- Will improve the ability of your body to regulate its internal temperature
- Helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes fat loss
- Makes up a significant portion of the material used to cushion your joints, vertebrae, eyes and brain
- Improves liver and metabolic function
- Aids your body in getting rid of harmful waste through bowel movements, sweat and urine
- Increases the percentage of fat used for energy
- Suppresses your appetite
- Hydrates your skin
- Regulates blood pressure
We have talked about the benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated, but what about the effects on your body when you are dehydrated? Extreme dehydration can ultimately kill you, but the effects of less severe dehydration causes multiple problems and symptoms such as, but definitely not limited to: muscle weakness, headaches, back pain, fatigue, dizziness, increased heart rate, decrease blood pressure, decrease cardiac output, slowed recovery from workouts, increased core temperature as well as decrease your general health and performance.
You might be saying, “That’s great, water is important, but how much water do I really need?” The general rule of thumb is drink half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. This means a 200 pound man should consume at least 100 ounces of water in a day and also ingest 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost that day from exercise. A common misconception is that any liquid, because it may contain water, counts as a person’s water intake for the day. Juice, coffee and soda do NOT count and actually end up contributing to dehydration.
The moral of this story: keep a water bottle near you all day and stay hydrated to stay healthy!