By Christina Perinhas
Water is a vital substance for the human body. Many people underestimate its importance, however, and make the mistake of thinking that drinking coffee, tea or sports drinks adequately hydrates the body. Nothing replaces good old H2O! The most important systems and organs within your body all rely on water (our bodies are made up of about 60% water) so it’s not just important that we replace our fluids regularly, it’s essential. Keeping up daily with your water intake (ideally half your body weight in ounces as a minimum!) will not only keep you healthier, but will also help you feel better. A body that is well-hydrated functions better; a mind that is well-hydrated works faster and has better memory and retention.
Each day, we lose 2-3 quarts of water through sweating, urination and breathing. When the water in your body is reduced by just 1 percent, you become thirsty. At 5 percent, muscle strength and endurance declines significantly and you become hot and tired. Get to a 10 percent loss, and delirium and blurred vision occur. Interesting facts, right? Not keeping up with your water intake can cause headaches, fatigue, allergies, and joint/muscle pain. Those who are chronically dehydrated often suffer from numerous diseases, due to the fact that without water, toxins cannot readily be eliminated from our body.
Did you know that hydration is also an important part of weight loss, as well as being essential for exercise? An obese person will actually see the percentage of their body water decrease from around 55-60% to 45-50%. Drinking more water, not less, helps the body metabolize stored fat, and actually helps with bloating by stimulating your kidneys to flush. When not enough water is consumed before during and after exercise, your body will have decreased muscle tone as well as more muscle soreness. When we exercise, we can sweat out 1-2 litres per hour! (crazy, right?). H20 also aids in delivering oxygen to muscles and helps the body perform physical labor more efficiently.
So, ready to jump on the wagon and start hydrating your body? Here are some other important roles that H20 plays within our body are:
• Transporter: Once a substance is dissolved in water, water becomes very important for transporting it throughout the body. For example, blood, which is 83 percent water, transports oxygen, CO2, nutrients, and more from cell to cell.
• Protector: Water washes away dirt and grime in your eyes. It even lubricates and cushions your joints.
• Chemical Reactor: We use it to digest food in the gastrointestinal tract, to access stored energy for muscles and organs, and for countless other reactions.
• And of Course, Coolant: The most important way water regulates our body temperature is through sweat. Sweat is a way for the body to cool itself down. When we sweat, it evaporates on our skin, drawing heat away from the body and cooling us down.