Thursday, December 26, 2019

Do You Drink Enough Water?

When I was younger I was never been a big water drinker. I usually only drank when I got thirsty or if a beverage was provided with a meal. When I'd go out to eat with friends I'd notice their glasses were usually refilled multiple times during the meal but I seldom finished mine. Keeping myself properly hydrated is an area where I've made improvements over the years.

I've seen a variety of sources which indicate that our bodies are composed of 55-75% water on a cellular level, so hydration is an important component of good health. The benefits of adequate water consumption include: better skin tone, improved body function, decreased urges to eat, decreased headaches, improved ability to excrete wastes and toxins, etc. I've seen conflicting data as to some of these claims, but I still think it is better to err on the side of more water than not enough. We obviously can't survive without water, but too much water can also be fatal in the rare case of water intoxication.

Many people are curious to know exactly how much water they should drink. For years experts were telling us to drink 8 large glasses of water every day, but a 9 year old girl doesn't have the same water needs as a 200 pound man living in a warmer climate who is involved in manual labor. Climate, health conditions, body size, and activity level need to be taken into consideration when determining water needs, therefore, I'm reluctant to recommend a magic number for the entire population since every one's needs are different.

Some of the signs of dehydration include: being thirsty, having dark colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heart beat, confusion, or irritability. It's especially important to drink water if you are exercising or in a hot climate. Severe dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle cramping, disorientation, nausea, weakness, or even death. If you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. When you know you will be exercising or working hard it is always wise to drink before during and after your physical activity.

One thing that really helped me improve my hydration levels was investing in a nice water bottle. Last ear I bought a large stainless steel, insulated water bottle that keeps water cold all day long and I found it is much easier to drink more water when it's not from a lukewarm plastic bottle. 

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