Drinking water consistently and staying hydrated can be… hard! But as hard as it may be for us to remember, it’s that much harder for our bodies to run at their optimum levels without it. What is the importance of water? Why do we need it? What is hydration? And most importantly, how can we get more of it?
Questions like these are especially important for active bodies, including yours, Vie Girl! The more you expend energy (like working out) the more water you need to not only repair your body but to keep it running like a well-oiled machine. Our intention with this post is to not only help you understand the importance of regularly and consistently consuming water but actually learning how to enjoy doing it. Shall we continue?
Why is Water Important?
You may be thinking, “because our bodies use it, duh!”, but let’s take it a step further – why do our bodies use water and how do our bodies use water? In plain terms, water is involved in every single cellular and chemical reaction within the human body. Woah! Water’s function within the human body is to transport nutrients, waste, and oxygen throughout the body while also regulating temperature, protect your organs, relieve constipation, repair tissues, and lubricate joints.1
An average human being can live about 3 weeks, give or take. How long can humans live without water? Humans can live about 3-7 days without water.1 That’s not very long which means that it also doesn’t take very long to become dehydrated. You don’t get hydrated by drinking water occasionally, you become (and stay) hydrated by drinking water consistently.
What is Hydration?
Hydration is the term used to describe the process of replenishing lost water with water. Simple as that. You can replace water orally (think food & drink) or intravenously (think IV/saline).
Dehydration is just the opposite – the loss or removal of water from your body.
Dehydration: Signs and Symptoms
When we fail to provide our body with regularly adequate levels of water, we risk the body’s ability to perform normal functions with ease. Dehydration set’s in when your body loses too much water without replacement.
Mild dehydration signs and symptoms include (but not limited to):
Extreme dehydration signs and symptoms such as:
little to no urination
severe muscle cramping
Chronic dehydration is no joke either. While you may not think you are dehydrated to the negatively noticeable point, that doesn’t always mean you’re as hydrated as you should be. Adverse health effects from chronic dehydration can severely affect your organs and lead to cholesterol problems, constipation, kidney stones, liver, joint and even muscle damage.1 So while you may not feel like you fit in the mild or severe category, it’s imperative to hydrate daily with both drink and food.
Who is at Risk For Dehydration?
Nobody is exempt from being dehydrated. Dehydration is serious business and it doesn’t take much to get there. The average human body loses nearly 3 liters (that’s almost a gallon) of water by just functioning throughout the day. This is done by regulating body temperature, sweating, going to the tinkle, and even just breathing. That doesn’t include exercising or increased motor function outside of the body. During exercise alone, let’s go with an hour for example (or the entire duration of one Vie Workout), the body loses 1-2 liters of water by just sweating.1
Now that’s why the windows fog up at Vie Tacoma location!
How Much Water Should I Drink per Day?
Water intake values vary based from individual to individual – no big secret there. But following a few guidelines from the Mayo Clinic can help you find and establish a basal water intake level that’s right for you and your lifestyle.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men drink about 15.5 cups of fluids daily while women consume about 11.5 cups. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Good news, about 20% of that recommended intake will end up coming from foods (fruits and veggies) while the rest will come from various liquids including plain water, coffee, tea, and otherwise.
Factors that affect your RDI of water include your overall health, how much you exercise, your environment extreme hot and cold environments) pregnancy and preexisting health conditions. When it comes to exercising, we recommending drinking water before, during, and after your Vie Workouts.
Side Note: Sports drinks (high sugar & electrolyte content – think Gatorade) should only be a relied upon as a source of hydration when exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour.
Water is Important – Especially For Active Lifestyles
It’s no secret that water is important, if not the most basic and essential nutrient that your body uses every single day and in every single way. Whether it’s regulating temperature or helping you release toxins and increase oxygen production during exercise, water helps us feel and function at our very best throughout our day. When we don’t consume adequate amounts of water to not only maintain fluid homeostasis, we experience negative side effects of our body’s thirst.
Take pride in fueling and healing your body with water. The difference is immediately notable and instantly gratifying. Take pride in your health, set some water goals, and make a plan to achieve them. The work may seem hard now, but it will in time become a habit that your body will reward you for every single day!
Popkin BM, D’anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(8):439-58.