Whether it is an $8.00 bottle of VOSS water or a quick sip from the drinking fountain in between classes, your body needs water to function correctly.
Water makes up about 60% of our bodies, and it is vitally important to include regular water intake in our daily lives to keep our bodies running effectively. While the common benefits of water are widely known, there are significant lesser-known benefits to drinking water.
Knowing how much water to drink can be a tricky question to answer. Most of us have heard the old rule to “drink eight glasses of water a day.” However, each person’s needs vary when it comes to the amount of water consumed each day.
According to Mayo Clinic, an adequate daily intake of fluid is about 15.5 cups of fluid for males and 11.5 cups for females. About 20% of daily fluid intake comes from food, leaving the remaining 80% to be in the form of fluids, whether that be water, sports drinks, or other beverages.
The body loses fluids during the day in sweat, breath, urine, and bowel movements. To combat this, fluids must replace what has been lost.
Because each of us leads different lives, we will have different needs for fluid replacement. For example, someone on the track & field team will need to hydrate before, during, and after their workout because exercise increases the amount of fluid loss.
Also, when someone is sick, they require more fluids, especially if they have a fever or if they’re vomiting and having diarrhea. They become dehydrated because liquids are leaving the body at a more rapid pace than if the person is healthy.
While it can be challenging to say precisely to the ounce how much water a person should have, using your thirst as a director can be very helpful. When you feel thirsty, it is your body telling you to replenish the water it needs to keep you functioning.
So, what happens if you don’t replace the water you lose? Dehydration occurs when you don’t take in enough fluid to compensate for the liquid you’re losing. It can result in your body not having enough fluid to function normally.
Some symptoms of dehydration, according to Mayo Clinic, include extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, or confusion. If you continue not to rehydrate, it can lead to urinary and kidney problems, including kidney stones (ouch).
Okay, so you have been drinking a healthy amount of water. What benefits can you expect?
Your body will reward you for drinking water by getting rid of wastes, which will help with constipation issues and keep the kidneys functioning properly. Also, staying hydrated regulates your temperature, lubricates your joints, and protects your sensitive tissues.
To get these benefits, try drinking a glass of water with each meal and between meals. Also, drink water when exercising, and try drinking water when you are hungry (according to Mayo Clinic, sometimes thirst can be confused with hunger).
Some ways to make staying hydrated more fun include having calorie-free flavored water. Think La Croix or Crystal Light. Also, getting a reusable water bottle with a fun pattern helps get you excited to hydrate! (Plus, reusable bottles are great for the environment)
Another fun way to keep track of water intake is to use an app that stores your water intake for you. A free one, called Plant Nanny, logs your water intake, which keeps your plant alive; if you don’t drink, the plant dies.
Regardless of how you stay motivated to stay hydrated, the critical part is to treat your body with respect and give it the fuel it needs to function correctly. Without gas, a car won’t run, and without water, neither will your body.