According to science, up to 60% of an adult body is made up of water. Water is the primary element that allows our body to function. Without it, our body quickly shuts down, which is why it is important to stay hydrated.
Water is the building block of every cell, tissue, and organ in our body. It’s responsible for removal of waste, body temperature regulation, and lubrication of joints as well. Without ample fluids, your body is incapable of these necessary functions that sustain life. Overall health relies on water intake. It’s hard to overstate why it is important to stay hydrated when so much of our quality of life relies on hydration.
How much hydration is necessary
You’ve probably heard it said that you should aim for 8 – 8 oz glasses of water each day. For some this might be too much, for others just right, and for others too little. Each of us needs different amounts of fluid depending on our weight and lifestyle. A good equation to follow is to aim for half your body weight in ounces each day. If you weigh 150 lbs, for example, you would consume 75 fluid ounces of water each day. This is your baseline. If you sweat excessively or are working in a hot environment, you will need to increase this to replace the extra fluids you are losing. If you are sick, increasing fluid intake will help replenish your cells more quickly and replace fluids you may lose during your illness.
What counts as hydration
Ideally, water should be the primary source of hydration. Secondary sources of hydration include juices, milk, tea, and even fruits and vegetables. Caffeinated beverages in moderation can be okay, too, but may cause more frequent urination for some people, in which case water should be increased. When you consider why it is important to stay hydrated, notice how you feel when you consume various beverages and see which ones make you feel best. Some will likely make you feel better than others when you balance the water content versus the added sugars and/or caffeine. Sports drinks, for example, are generally unnecessary for most people unless you are losing an excessive amount of fluids through sweat. The added sugar in these beverages offset the benefits of good hydration.
How to stay hydrated
An easy way to remind yourself to drink appropriate amounts of water each day is to carry a water bottle with you. This “prompt” will trigger the intake of more fluids simply by making it easier to consume. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can add a slice of fruit or a non-calorie flavor packet to make it more enjoyable. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after a workout. If you find yourself feeling hungry during the day, grab a drink of water first, since thirst often mimics hunger. If you still find yourself falling short of your daily goal, set a timer on your phone to remind you to drink at regular intervals.
The simple reason why it is important to stay hydrated is that it is the foundational element to your health. Your body suffers without it and thrives with it. Make hydration a priority in your daily life by following the recommendations in this article to support your overall health and wellbeing.