We know it covers two-thirds of the earth. But did you know water also makes up nearly two-thirds of your total bodyweight?
It seems so simple, drink more water and you will lose weight, have more energy, and perform better. So why are most of us chronically dehydrated? Water is essential to a fit and healthy body, and in case you need convincing here are the top reasons to drink more water:
1. Performance both in the office and in the gym. Proper hydration during the workday keeps you alert and provides mental clarity. When you sweat during exercise you lose blood volume, which means your heart pumps faster to do the same amount of work. Drinking more water before, during and after exercise will take your performance to the next level.
2. Detoxification and natural removal of toxins.
3. Fat loss. Thirst can often be confused with hunger and drinking water will keep you feeling more full.
4. Growth. Transports nutrients and oxygen for cell growth and repair.
5. Joint health. Acts as a lubricant for your joints, digestive system, eyes and other cells.
6. General health. Acts as a catalyst for a number of metabolic reactions. Dietary source for minerals such as fluoride, calcium and magnesium.
7. Hangover feeling, cramping and low blood pressure. Dehydration can mimic a hangover causing headaches, fatigue, muscle cramping, low blood pressure, dizziness, and nausea.
8. Temperature regulation of your body.
How much water do you really need
This depends on your body size, metabolic rate, activity level, climate and how much you sweat. The leaner you are, the more water you need since muscles contain more water than fat. Men also tend to hold more water than women.
For the average person, 2 L of water combined with a diet high in water-containing fruits and vegetables (i.e. cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, tomato, strawberries, grapefruit) will meet basic requirements.
To more accurately calculate how much water you need, drink a minimum of half your bodyweight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs (68 kg), you need at least 75oz of water throughout the day.
If you are more active, be sure to “pre-hydrate” with 16oz before any intense exercise about 30 minutes before. Continue to drink about 8oz for every 15 minutes of exercise.
Thirst isn’t a good indicator of hydration. We don’t realize we’re thirsty until we have already lost water stores, so be sure to drink water evenly throughout the day.
Tips to drink more water
- Keep 16oz on your bedside table and drink it as soon as you wake up
- Get a large water bottle and keep it nearby
- Drink water in between meals
- Make herb-infused spa water. My favorite combinations are lemon, cucumber and mint OR strawberry, pineapple and mint.
- Drink herbal tea
- Use a reminder app
Berardi, John, PhD, and Ryan Andrews, MS, MA, RD. “Water & Fluid Balance.” The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. 2nd ed. Toronto: Precision Nutrition, 2015. 197-297. Print.