It runs through our taps, flows through our land and freezes in the Arctic. It is used to create electricity, is mandatory in growing crops and most importantly it keeps us alive.
Water is key to our survival. We can go weeks without eating before starving to death but we can only go a few days without water. Our body is comprised of 60-70% water, our eyes around 90% water and our blood plasma are made up of 92% of water.
How does water work in our bodies?
- carries nutrients to cells
- creates saliva which is the first point of food breakdown
- supports digestion and absorption of food
- helps to neutralize acids and toxins, and rid them from your body by way of sweat, urine, and feces.
- keeps joints mobile by hydrating cartilage
- helps regulate your bodies temperature through sweating
- reduces hunger = weight loss
- supports your skin (your largest organ) and reduces signs of aging and wrinkles
When we don't consume adequate amounts of water, our body gets dehydrated which can lead to a number of health problems.
How does dehydration affect our body?
- reduces your energy levels through the day
- causes headaches
- creates muscle cramping and can lead to muscle damage
- changes your mood and mental clarity
- slows down your metabolism and creates bloating
- causes constipation
- reduces muscle strength and endurance
- toxin buildup
- lead to UTI's (urinary tract infections) & kidney stones
Your body can lose 1% of water by doing regular activities, without any physical activities or environmental factors. This means you need to drink enough water to replace that 1% each day. Add in a sweaty workout, a trip to the desert, or a flight on a plane, and your water intake needs to increase.
Dehydration symptoms can include:
- low energy
- lack of concentration
- dry skin
- short-term memory problems
- difficulty concentrating
- cold hands and feet
What is the recommended intake?
You may ask 5 people and get 5 different answers. I like to look at it this way - for every hour I am awake, I drink one cup of water. I am awake from 7am - 10pm on average each day. If I drink one cup of water (250ml) every hour, that will mean I would drink 3.5L of water a day.
If you are a coffee or tea drinker or even a Friday night sipper, you need to increase this amount. For every caffeinated drink, I recommend drinking 2 cups of water. On those special nights, start with a large glass of water and drink one cup of water in between each beverage. Your body and head will appreciate it the next morning.
Those sweaty workouts or hot yoga classes can mean dehydration quickly. Make sure you are getting your adequate amount of water during the day and drink 1-2 cups of water 30-45 minutes before your workout. If you are able to, sip on water throughout your workout, do so. And when the sweaty class is all done, enjoy a large glass of water. You can also enjoy coconut water post class to replenish those electrolytes.
How to increase your water intake:
Now that you know water is VERY important to our bodily functions, you need to find the best ways to increase your intake. Find solutions that are easy for you so they become part of your lifestyle.
- find a water vessel that you can carry with you so you always have water on hand. I love my Swell bottle or even a mason jar works. Keep in mind, plastic can leach BPA if left in hot environments like your car in the summer or in the sun at the beach.
- set an alarm every hour to make sure you are drinking water hourly
- drink quality water - alkaline or filtered water where possible
- herbal teas are a great way to change up the flavour
- infuse water with cucumber, berries and citrus fruit like lemon and limes
- eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies that contain water like celery, cucumber, watermelon, and strawberries.
When you realize you are thirsty, that can mean your body is already dehydrated. Make it a lifestyle by carrying a bottle around with you so you are never feeling thirsty.