Importance of Water
10 Reasons Why You Need to Drink
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
You hear that you
need to drink water constantly but rarely hear the reasons why. Sure, you know
that you need to stay "hydrated" but you may not really even understand what
this means. Let's delve into the meaning behind hydration and just why you need
to drink so much plain "boring" water.
- Your body is made up
primarily of water. When properly hydrated, about two-thirds of your
body is water. Muscle tissue is even higher, at around 70 percent, while fat is
less. Muscle powers your body and fat protects it. Put two and two together and
you may surmise that water is vital to the things that make your body do stuff.
When you don't have enough water, your performance declines in a state we call
dehydration. Get too dehydrated and your body will no longer function, which
isn't too surprising if it's low on a nutrient that makes up 65 percent of
- You don't
need to drink 65 percent of your weight in water each day. This is
because, one, if you've lost all the water in your body, you'd be dead; but
also that water makes up most of all living things on our planet. Since we eat
livingor recently alivethings we get some of that water. When we cook things,
they lose their water. This means, the more whole raw foods you eat, the less
water you need to drink. Fruits and veggies lead the group of water-rich foods
and contain around 95 percent water. If you eat a lot of plants, you can drink
- There is
more to hydration than just your water levels. Water reacts with
chemicals in your body in order to function. We lose water in the form of sweat
and sweat is made up of water and body "salts," which are mainly sodium,
chloride, and potassium but also magnesium, calcium, and so on. These are
called electrolytes and, basically, are the reason that salt is such a vital
component in your diet. Salt is a mixture of sodium and chloride but we use the
term "salts" in reference to electrolytes in general. Too much salt is bad and
too little is bad. Both can kill you. This is why, like water, the amount you
consume should be directly related to the workload your body is put under. More
exercise equals more sweat, meaning that you need more water and more salt.
- What about water
weight? Some people are afraid to drink a lot of water because they're
afraid of gaining "water weight." This is the opposite of what you should do.
Water weight is a term for your body holding on to excess water because it's
not getting enough. The best way to get rid of water weight is to drink more
water. It works two ways. If you don't drink enough water or if you eat too
much salt in your diet, your body hoards water. This water/salt relationship is
referred to as your electrolyte balance. In general, there's an easy way to
tell if you need more water or salt, in that most people's diets feature far
too much saltespecially if you eat in restaurants. So when you aren't
exercising, you almost never need more salt. When you are exercising, getting
enough salt becomes an issue. Endurance athletes are ever aware of the need to
have enough salt to avoid a condition called hyponatremia, a condition when
you've had too much water and not enough salt that's basically just dehydration
from a different angle. Those who don't do excessive exercise outdoors almost
never have to worry about this condition.
- So what does
water do for you? You'll often hear such claims as helping chemical
reactions, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, eyes, and your
spinal cord. Sure, sure, it does all of this stuff. In fact, since you're made
up of water a case can be made that it does almost everything. So why split
hairs? Your body doesn't work, at all, without being fed a lot of water. You
can live days, weeks, sometimes even months without food. But you can't live
even a few days without water.
- Itchy skin. Dry
skin. Constipation. Sneezing. Dry cough. Headaches. Nosebleeds. Acne.
This list represents common ailments related to drinking too little water.
Since water regulates your body functions it makes sense that minor glitches in
bodily functions may relate to water. And this list is partial. Many symptoms
blamed on allergies are probably due to living in a dehydrated state. When you
are properly hydrated, your body can better defend itself.
- The above symptoms may be
worse in the winter. It takes water just to breathe and you lose water
through your mouth and lungs. During winter, when the air is dry, it takes more
water. Add forced heat in the airlike home heating systems and firesand the
situation is exacerbated. This means that you need to drink extra water in the
winter when it's cold, even though you are probably less thirsty.
- Water and your immune
system. During winter, lack of water will dry out the mucous membranes
of your lungs, gut, and sinus passages and lessen your resistance to disease.
These barriers protect your body against bacteria, viruses, and pollutants when
fully hydrated and intact. Allowing them to dry out could be the leading cause
of the common cold and allergic symptoms, not to mention things like
constipation, sinusitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and long-term diseases like
hemorrhoids and colon cancer.
- Water and fat
loss. In other articles I've talked about the importance of fat
mobilization for energy and its relation to weight loss and effective exercise.
Well, water is the main component of this action. A well-hydrated body has
higher levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, translating into an increased
ability to burn fat as fuel. The more efficiently you burn fat as fuel, the
more effectively you exercise, leading to a better overall body
- How much
water? It's said you need about eight glasses of water a day. However,
this will vary due to activity and environmental conditions. As a general rule,
add a couple of glasses during the hot days of summer and the dry, cold nights
of winter. During exercise, you may lose a quart an hour or more. While all
liquids provide water, additions such as sugar, diuretics (caffeine, etc), and
carbonation reduce the hydration effect. Combining all three, as in soda, can
reduce the hydration efficiency of the liquid to almost nil.
I hope I've sold you on the importance
of drinking water. For further guidelines on the types of water that are safe
and effective, read "What's
in Your Water?"