The Importance of Hydration
Recently, a friend proudly announced that he drinks one glass of water every two weeks, and that his body composition scale shows his water content to be 70 percent. His assumption was that he didn’t need to drink any more water than he currently does. At that moment, I realized most people do not understand what it means to be properly hydrated.
How much water should you really be drinking?
Approximately 75 percent of Americans are in a chronic state of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to vague symptoms such as constipation, headaches, light-headedness, loss of skin elasticity, increased heart rate, muscle cramps and excessive urination. The requirement for men is three liters per day and for women it is just over two liters per day. However, this number is not absolute. There are other factors to consider such as where you live, your general health and your activity level.
Adults older than 60 years of age who drink water only when thirsty are likely only getting 90 percent of the water they need. They are already in moderate dehydration which is defined by loss of 5-10 percent of the body’s fluid. Loss of 10 to 15 percent of the body’s fluid is considered severe.
Is it really that important to drink water?
Adequate hydration has numerous benefits. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends on water to work efficiently. Water reduces fatigue by improving the efficiency of reactions that take place on a cellular level.
If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe this is . . .
Fat deposits increase in a state of dehydration. Theoretically, this occurs because the efficiency of the kidneys is diminished and its functions are shunted to the liver. The liver’s job is to metabolize fat into usable energy. However, since it is performing the kidney’s duties, it is less able to metabolize fat.
Increased water intake can also decrease the risk of colon and bladder cancer.
Generally, Americans consume more soda and coffee than water, but they believe they are well hydrated.
As for the scale showing a water content of 70 percent, it is important to remember that these scales are not completely accurate and they are unable measure how much water a body needs to carry out its many functions. These functions include regulating body temperature, forming saliva, flushing waste through urination, and lubricating our joints, to name a few. One glass of water every two weeks is definitely not enough to accomplish all those tasks.
If you don’t drink enough water, what’s your main reason for not drinking more?