Water is so important for our bodies, but often, we aren't drinking nearly enough. The average client we see is lucky to drink about 5 cups of water a day, that's three cups shy of the old "8 cups a day" rule we all grew up with.
Perhaps it would be helpful to know why we need to drink water..
Water, one of six nutrients the body needs, is the base for most of the chemical reactions that occur in the human body. So, let's think of chemical reactions as in our body breaking down the nutrients we eat and turning those nutrients into the energy we need to get through the day. If our body isn't getting the adequate amount of water it needs to aid in the chemical reactions, is there a chance our metabolism isn't working to its full potential!? We think, yes, there is a chance!!
Water is also a nutrient that can easily showcase how optimal nutrition works. For instance, if someone does not consume enough water, they can become dehydrated. This is especially true in the heat and during exercise (1). As water is lost from the body, it must be replenished. Dehydration can cause short-term memory loss, effect visual-motor abilities, and impair working memory. As the level of dehydration increases, these symptoms get worse. Dehydration symptoms are most noticeable with a decrease in body weight by 2% or more (2). Have you ever been doing something and noticed you couldn't remember what you were just doing, or just about to do? Could that be the effect of perhaps a slight dehydration? It is possible.
On a side note, too much water can also be a bad thing. If a person is over-hydrated, it is said that they have water intoxication. This can cause the cells in their body to swell. Water intoxication has some pretty serious side effects including convulsions, coma, and even death. Therefore, it is very important to have a nice balanced amount of water in the body. As water is lost, it needs to be replenished…but not over-replenished.
So, how much water should we drink?? We recommend 9 cups a day for a sedentary woman, and 11 cups for a sedentary man. If you exercise that day, add 2 more cups for each hour you exercise. Consume alcohol or caffeine? Another 2 cups per cup of each of those. That's a lot of water, so get sipping.
Have Fun & Be Active,
Your friends from Build it for Life
- Cian, C., Barraud, P.A., Melin, B., & Raphel, C. (2001, Novemember). Effects of fluid ingestion on cognitive function after heat stress or exercise-induced dehydration. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 43 (3). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.libproxy.bridgeport.edu/science/article/pii/S0167876001001428
- Derrickson, B., & Tortora, G. J. "Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid-Base Homeostasis." Principles of Anatomy & Physiology. 13th John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012 P. 1112, 1115, 1116. Print.