I have seen several posts over the last few weeks of friends and colleagues who have suffered from dehydration - one even wound up in the hospital.....quickly halting a romantic dinner with his lovely wife!
As the importance of staying hydrated came up early while learning to become a health coach, I figured it was time to share a few tips on not only WHY it’s important, but HOW much water you should be drinking.
Water promotes cardiovascular health.
When we are dehydrated, our blood volume can decrease, leading to a drop in blood pressure. This means your heart must work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and get enough oxygen to your cells.
It helps cleanse your body of toxins
The kidneys are necessary for helping the body remove water and waste, in the form of urine. Staying hydrated can help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If you become severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working, causing toxins to build up in your body.
Water helps to keep your body cool
Ever notice how your face gets red during exercise?? This is due to your body releasing heat by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface. When you’re dehydrated, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to widen, so you stay hotter.
It helps your muscles and joints work better
Water is essential for lubricating joints. Synovial fluid inside your joints reduces friction and helps ease the impact on your joints. Muscles are made of approximately 15-20% water. To help them function effectively, they should stay lubricated. Drinking water helps speed up sore muscles and recovery time at the gym.
There are many other benefits - including keeping your skin supple and improving the health of your mouth (reducing bad breath!).
Depending on your unique body size, the amount of water your body requires will vary greatly. HOWEVER, a good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces. For example - if your body weight is 140 lbs - you need to drink approximately 70 ounces of water per day!!!
The amount of water you drink will depend on your activity level (ie. how much you sweat!), how much caffeine and/or alcohol you drink and the temperature where you live.
If water seems boring, or you just don’t like the taste of it - consider adding sliced lemons, limes, cucumber or orange. Or how about adding mint?? OR just heat water and drink it with lemon. Coffee doesn’t count - like alcohol, it is dehydrating, so be sure to go “1 for 1”.
It is a good habit to get into to drinking water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Rehydrating the body as soon as you wake up leads to clearer thinking and better energy.
So, drink up!