Why You Need to Drink Water
Approximately 60-65 percent of our body is made up of water. It's the most important nutrient our body needs on a daily basis to survive. Muscle is made up of 70 percent water, while fat is only 22 percent. Water is responsible for transporting needed nutrients to the body's cells and transporting the waste out. This is why water is so important to us.
When a person does not drink enough water daily his or her body will tend to save it. We call this water weight. It occurs when the body stores more water than is necessary. There are other reasons some people are prone to water weight. For some it may be a diet high in sodium or starchy carbohydrates. For women it may fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle.
Your body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. Water also transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs.
Signs of Dehydration
By the time you feel thirsty, you have been dehydrated for some time. Thirst represents an extreme in dehydration. You lose water through urination, respiration, and by sweating. If you are very active, you lose more water than if you are sedentary. Diuretics, such as caffeine pills and alcohol, result in the need to drink more water because they trick your body into thinking you have more water than we need.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. A strong odor to your urine, along with a yellow or amber color, indicates that you may not be getting enough water. Note that riboflavin, a B vitamin, will make your urine bright yellow.
Remember: Thirst is an obvious sign of dehydration, and in fact, you need water long before you feel thirsty.
How Much Water do You Need to Drink?
A good estimate is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces of water per day that you need to drink. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. If you exercise, you should drink another eight ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes you are active. If you drink alcohol, you should drink at least an equal amount of water.
When you are traveling on an airplane, it is good to drink eight ounces of water for every hour you are on board the plane. If you live in an arid climate, you should add another two servings per day. As you can see, your daily need for water can add up to quite a lot.
If you eat a healthy diet, about 20 percent of your water may come from the foods you eat. The rest will come from the beverages you drink.
How To Drink Enough Water
It may be difficult to drink enough water on a busy day. Be sure you have water handy at all times by keeping a bottle for water with you when you are working, traveling, or exercising. If you get bored with plain water, add a bit of lemon or lime for a touch of flavor. There are some brands of flavored water available, but watch for extra calories.