Water is such a vital component to everyone’s health and fitness. You can go weeks without food but you will only last a few days without water. So what does water exactly do? It has many functions throughout the body and every cell in the human body requires it. Some of the functions include the regulation of body temperature, protection of the body’s internal organs, as well as being a key component in digestion. Almost every system in your body requires water to function properly.
What are the signs you are dehydrated? Well if you find yourself very thirsty you are likely in a mild stage of dehydration. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include dry mouth, thirst, dry skin, headache, and dizziness or being lightheaded. Severe dehydration can be life threatening and medical attention should be an immediate priority. Symptoms of severe dehydration include extreme thirst, confusion, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, and unconsciousness.
How much water should you be drinking? A good rule is to aim for ½ of your bodyweight (lbs.) in ounces. For example if I’m a 200 pound male, my daily intake for the day should be around 100 oz. of water. A positive indicator that you are well hydrated is the color of your urine. When you visit the restroom your urine should be mostly clear and very light yellow. If you notice a more dark yellow color chances are you are slightly dehydrated.
What about exercise? If you are an active person and find yourself doing an abundance of physical activity your water requirements may be more depending on how much you sweat. An easy tool that you can use is an ordinary weight scale to measure your fluid loss. Here’s how. Weigh yourself before you begin exercise and immediately after. For example, if I weigh 200 pounds before I begin my exercise and I weigh 198 pounds immediately afterwards I have lost 2 pounds of fluid that needs to be replaced. I did not lose fat or muscle during this time but water is the reason why my weight has dropped. So if we do a little simple math, there are 16 oz. in one pound, and if I lost 2 pounds that means I will need 32 oz. (16 oz. X 2) of fluid to return back to my normal hydration levels.
Water is an extremely important piece to keeping your body operating at its optimal level. So for those who neglect their daily water intake, let’s grab those bottles and fill them up! You may be surprised with the difference in the way you feel and how your fitness performance may improve.